The Complete Guide to Idaho Landlord-Tenant Laws 
While Idaho's breathtaking landscapes and welcoming communities create a wonderful backdrop for owning property and renting, unraveling its intricate rental laws can pose quite a challenge. These legal regulations influence the rights, responsibilities, and interactions of both landlords and tenants. Although they are comprehensive, their complex nature can be daunting.
To help both landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities, we've compiled this complete guide on Idaho rental laws. Landlords will become empowered to protect their investments and foster harmonious relationships with their tenants. At the same time, tenants will learn vital knowledge that will help them assert their fundamental rights.
This guide explores a wide spectrum of Idaho’s landlord-tenant laws, addressing critical topics such as tenant screening, security deposit procedures, lease agreements, and the eviction process. Armed with this resource, you’ll confidently navigate the laws outlined in the Idaho Landlord Tenant Code.
Ready to get started? Let’s jump in!
Is Idaho a landlord-friendly state?
Idaho's status as a moderately landlord-friendly state reflects a balance between the interests of landlords and tenants. First, there are no maximums on security deposits or late fees, allowing landlords flexibility in managing their properties and addressing damages or delays in rent payment. Tenants, in turn, cannot withhold rent unless it’s exclusively for repairs.
Second, Idaho has no rent control laws. This environment can potentially foster opportunities for property investment and development, while also shaping a rental landscape influenced by supply and demand factors.
According to a list of the most landlord-friendly states, Idaho ranks 14th. This highlights the state’s overall inclination toward supporting landlord rights and property management practices.
Idaho landlord tenant law fast facts
Idaho landlord responsibilities and rights
Idaho landlords and real estate investors are entitled to certain rights that allow them to run profitable and efficient rental businesses. Some of their main rights include:
- Collecting rent payments when due
- Collecting and using a security deposit to cover rental damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Pursuing an eviction in case the tenant breaches the terms of the lease
Idaho law also holds landlords accountable for certain responsibilities that guarantee a smooth tenancy and a safe and sanitary living environment for their tenants. Their main responsibilities include:
- Keep their property compliant with regular housing parameters in Idaho
- Complying with security deposit limits and returning it within 21 days of the end of the lease
- Completing necessary repairs three days after being notified in writing by the tenant
Idaho tenant responsibilities and rights
Like landlords, Idaho renters have fundamental rights that protect their safety, health, and privacy while residing in a rental unit. Some of their main rights include:
- Living in a habitable property that complies with local housing requirements
- Requesting repairs for significant damage, and seeking legal help if the landlord does fails to make the repair
- Living in a property without interference of their privacy or right to quiet enjoyment
Tenants in Idaho have their own set of duties to uphold in order to maintain a healthy and respectful landlord-tenant relationship. These duties are as follows:
- Pay rent on time
- Keep the unit in clean and habitable condition, including making small repairs when necessary
- Maintain a clean and sanitary living environment
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
- Complying with the rental agreement
Idaho landlord tenant law through the rental cycle
Idaho rental application and tenant screening laws
Idaho landlord-tenant law permits rental owners to request rental applications and screen prospective tenants. The state does not regulate how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee or tenant screening fee.
The state does require landlords to obtain a tenant consent to run a background check.
Additionally, landlords can reject tenants based on the following:
- Inability to pay rent
- Criminal background
- Valid occupancy limit policy
Idaho rental agreement laws
Both oral and written rental agreements are accepted in Idaho. But for leases of a year or longer, they must be in writing. However, it’s always recommended to have a documented agreement since it grants rights and responsibilities to both the landlord and renter.
No specific clauses are required by law to be included in the lease agreement, but all lease agreements should include certain information such as duration of the lease, landlord contact information, security deposit clauses, and rent cost.
If an Idaho landlord wishes to update the terms of a lease agreement, they must provide the tenant a 15-day written notice before the month’s end. If the tenant changes, the new terms will take affect at the beginning of the month. A 30-day written notice is required to increase rent.
Landlords in Idaho must also provide a 30-day written notice if they intend to not renew the tenant’s lease. If a tenant desires to terminate a lease, they must provide a certain amount of notice to the landlord. Month-to-month leases are required to provide one month’s notice, year-to-year leases are also required to provide one month’s notice, and for all other lease periods, there is no statute.
Tenants can only terminate a lease agreement early if:
- Active military duty
- Landlord harassment
- Early termination clause
- Uninhabitable unit
Idaho security deposit laws
Landlords in Idaho are allowed to collect a security deposit at the start of a tenancy to cover property damage and other unforeseen costs. The state does not limit how much landlords can charge for a security deposit.
Other important Idaho security deposit laws landlords should note:
- State law doesn’t require a receipt for security deposits.
- Landlords do not have to pay interest on security deposits.
- Security deposits do not have to be held in a separate bank account.
Upon termination of a lease, landlords have 21 days to return the security deposit to the tenant. With it, landlords should include a written statement of any deductions made and why they were made.
Reasons landlords can legally withhold a portion or all of the funds in Idaho include damage beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, and unpaid rent and utilities.
If the deposit is returned late or not returned at all, Idaho renters can sue for three times the deposit plus the court costs.
Idaho rent laws
Idaho state law does not regulate rent payments, which allows landlords in the state to collect rent when and how they wish. They can even restrict the form of payment to cash, check, or whatever they prefer.
Since the state of Idaho doesn’t impose rent control laws, Idaho landlords can charge any amount of rent they see fit for their property. They can also increase rent as much as they want. Before doing so, the landlord must provide at least a 15-day notice to the tenant.
Additionally, Idaho doesn’t regulate how much a landlord can charge for a late fee or when they can start collecting the fee.
It’s important to note that tenants in Hawaii cannot withhold rent payments for any reason including the “repair and deduct” remedy. The one exception is replacing smoke detectors which tenants can purchase and deduct the cost from the next month’s rent (Idaho Code § 6-320(a)(6)).
Idaho repair and maintenance laws
Like other states, Idaho landlords are required to keep their rentals in good condition, complying with the city, county, and state housing parameters.
When it comes to repairs, landlords must make them within three days of being notified by the tenant. If repairs are not made in a timely manner, Idaho tenants have the option of suing for costs, seeking a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, or canceling the rental agreement.
Idaho tenants can’t withhold rent to make repairs themselves and are not permitted to abandon the rental unit due to repair issues.
Idaho notice of entry laws
Idaho does not have any specific statutes covering notice of entry laws. This leaves it up to the renter and landlord to come to an agreement on a reasonable manner and time of entry.
Landlords may enter the rental property for reasons including maintenance, inspections, and showings to prospective tenants.
It should be noted that landlords in Idaho can enter the property without notice in cases of emergency.
Idaho eviction and lease termination laws
Idaho state law lets landlords move forward with the eviction process for several reasons, all with similar notice periods. Here are some of the key reasons a landlord can evict a tenant:
- Unpaid rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent in Idaho, the landlord may issue a three-day notice to pay. If the tenant still does not pay, the landlord may proceed by filing a Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer with the court.
- Lease violation: If a tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement, the landlord can also issue a three-day notice to comply or vacate. But for serious violations, the landlord does not have to provide a chance for the tenant to remedy the issue. In either case, if the tenant does not agree to the terms, the landlord can file for eviction.
- Illegal drug activity: If the landlord is aware that the tenant is involved in illegal drug activity on the rental premises, they may issue a three-day notice to quit before filing for eviction.
- Waste: If a tenant commits waste on the rental property, the landlord may issue a three-day notice to quit.
- End of lease or no lease: If the tenant does not leave the unit at the end of the tenancy, the landlord must give a 30-day notice to quit before moving forward with eviction procedures.
It’s important to note that self-help evictions are illegal in Idaho. This includes changing locks, shutting off utilities, removing the tenant’s property, and failing to provide proper notice.
Additional Idaho landlord tenant rental laws
On top of covering issues like repairs and evictions, Idaho law covers topics such as housing discrimination and landlord retaliation. We’ll explore some of those topics below.
Housing discrimination laws
In Idaho, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the rental of housing based on a person's race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or familial status. This means that landlords cannot deny housing based on these factors. The Idaho Human Rights Commission enforces the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Tenants who believe their fair housing rights have been violated can file a complaint with HUD or the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.
It’s illegal for Idaho landlords to retaliate against tenants for taking protected actions like reporting the landlord for violations of housing or safety codes, or joining a tenant’s association.
Attempting to evict the tenant for these actions would be considered a form of retaliation, and is punishable by law.
Idaho requires landlords with rentals built before 1978 to provide a lead-based paint disclosure, which provides information about concentrations of lead paint in the home or building. This is to protect tenants and their families from the dangers of lead exposure. Lead paint can be found in many older homes and buildings, and it can be harmful to health if it is not properly managed.
Bottom line: Why you should understand Idaho's landlord tenant laws
Gaining a firm grasp of Idaho's rental laws is crucial for nurturing a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship. These comprehensive regulations have been created to uphold the rights and responsibilities of both parties, fostering an equitable and well-balanced rental landscape.
For landlords operating in Idaho, comprehending and adhering to these laws will secure their investments and cultivate positive interactions with their tenants. Similarly, these laws establish the foundation for a secure and considerate living environment that tenants can truly call their own.
Idaho landlord tenant resources
Here are some resources that cover Idaho state and city laws, ensuring you have the information you need to make informed decisions and comply with the specific regulations relevant to your location.
- Idaho Landlord Tenant Manual: This handbook covers most every consideration a landlord or tenant may need to make before, during, and after a lease agreement.
- Landlord Tenants Rights and Responsibilities: This pamphlet details both parties responsibilities and rights under Idaho’s current landlord-tenant law.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.