Idaho Landlord Tenant Laws
Idaho has not adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act into its rental law, and has a number of unique conditions that both landlords and tenants need to be familiar with. Idaho is also one of only a few states that does not offer tenants complete protection against retaliatory evictions, though there are some limited circumstances under which an eviction can be considered retaliatory.
Both landlords and tenants would be well advised to study and familiarize themselves with the statutes cited below, though nothing on this page should be construed as legal advice. Always consult a lawyer if you are uncertain of your rights and/or contemplating taking a matter to court. And of course, always check local city and county ordinances to verify that they do not have terms that supersede state law.
What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Idaho?
The quickest and easiest place for both landlords and tenants to brush up on their rights is by viewing the State Attorney General’s Landlord and Tenant Guidelines publication. If you want to go straight to specific statutes, Idaho Code 55-301 to 55-308 (Rights and Obligations of Owners) is the most relevant. Landlords and tenants both should also be familiar with Idaho Code 6-201 to 6-212 (Waste and Willful Trespass on Real Property) and Idaho Code 6-301 to 6-324 (Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer). And landlords will also likely want to look over Idaho Code 55-208 to 55-12 (Estates in Real Property) as well as Idaho Code 216-217 (Limitation of Action for Contracts).
Security Deposit Rules
Idaho has no maximum limit for security deposits, and landlords are not required to pay interest on them either, under Idaho Code 6-321. They are required to hold the deposit in a bank account or in escrow, however, and name the institution where it is being held in the lease. There is no statute regarding pet deposits or non-returnable fees, or on providing a receipt for the security deposit.
The landlord is given 21 days to return the security deposit from the end date of the lease under Idaho Code 6-321. The tenant may agree in writing to extend this up to 30 days, however. Landlords can only make deductions from the security deposit for items specified in the lease, and cannot make deductions for normal wear and tear. All charges must additionally be accounted for in an itemized list along with a written reason for each charge within the 21 days the landlord is allotted to return the security deposit. If the landlord fails to return the deposit and fails to provide such an itemized list within that time period, the tenant is within their rights to take legal action to have the deposit returned.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
The due date of the rent is to be established in the lease along with any late fees, as there are no statutes governing these items. There is also no statute on a grace period for unpaid rent, prepaid rent terms or fees regarding abandonment of the property.
A fifteen-day notice prior to the beginning of the month in which the change will take place is required if a landlord wants to increase the rent, as stipulated by Idaho Code 55-307.
Landlords may sue in small claims court to recover either three times the returned check amount or the check amount plus $100, whichever of these is greater. Landlords may also recover attorney fees and court costs from a successful eviction proceeding, though in cases where they are required to provide three days notice of eviction they are also required to provide written notice that such fees can be recovered.
Tenants are not allowed to automatically deduct rent for repairs or to withhold it for failure to provide essential services, but they can give written notice of needed repairs and then sue the landlord if they do not make them. There is one small exception for working smoke detectors; if a smoke detector is needed, the tenant may install one themselves if the landlord does not respond to a written request within three days, and then deduct the cost from the next month’s rent. These terms are clarified in Idaho Code 6-320 to 6-324.
Notice and Entry Rules
Under Idaho Code 55-208, a month’s notice is required for a tenant to terminate a monthly lease or a yearly lease that has no end date. Weekly leases must have language in them that stipulates how much notice is required to terminate the lease.
Landlords are allowed to terminate a lease with 24 hours notice if they have reasonable evidence that anyone in the dwelling has engaged in the use, manufacture or sale of any controlled substance. Lease termination for non-payment or for a lease violation requires three days advance written notice.
There are no state statutes governing required notice before entry, even in emergency circumstances. The lease must stipulate these terms. Landlords do have the right to enter with three days notice if the tenant is absent from the property for an extended period of time.
Lockouts and utility shutoffs are never allowed under Idaho state law.
Required Disclosures and Notes
There are no statutes requiring landlords to provide a contact name and address or a copy of the lease. There are also no special protections required for domestic violence victims. Landlords are required to disclose the use of lead paint to tenants, however, and must also provide them with an informational pamphlet from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the subject.
The duties of the landlord are covered in full under the Attorney General’s guidelines. The duties of the landlord basically boil down to maintaining the premises in keeping with city and county ordinances and state laws, and ensuring that the property is safe and does not present a danger to the tenant’s health. The Attorney General’s guidelines also lay out the duties of the tenant. Tenants are required to refrain from engaging in unlawful activity on the property, keep the property clean and clear of garbage, use the appliances and plumbing appropriately and maintain a safe environment for everyone who visits.
As was touched on briefly at the outset, Idaho law does not offer specific protections for tenants from retaliatory evictions except in the case that they request a needed repair or that they join or form a tenant’s union. There is no specific statute that protects tenants from retaliation for complaints they make to a landlord or an outside agency. One may wish to consult an attorney in these cases as there may be prior rulings in the state that can be cited as precedent.
Small Claims Court
Small claims in Idaho are limited to $5,000. Eviction proceedings are heard in the local county district court rather than in small claims court. The state places a statute of limitations of four years on oral contracts and five years on written contracts, according to Idaho Codes 5-216 and 5-217.
- Idaho Courts Self-Help: Small Claims Forms
- Idaho District Courts Website
- Ada County Small Claims Court
- Canyon County Small Claims Court
- 3rd Judicial District Small Claims Court
- Bannock County Small Claims Court
- Kootenai County Court Forms