This article summarizes some key Idaho landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.
The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.
With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.
If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.
Official Rules and Regulations
- Idaho Code §§ 6-201 – §§ 6-212 – Waste and Wilful Trespass on Real Property
- Idaho Code §§ 6-301 – §§ 6-324 – Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer
- Idaho Code §§ 55-208 – §§ 55-212 – Estates in Real Property
- Idaho Code §§ 55-301 – §§ 55-308 – Rights and Obligations of Owners
- Idaho Code §§ 5-216 – §§ 5-217 – Limitation of Actions (Contracts)
- Attorney General’s (AG) Landlord and Tenant Guidelines (pdf)
- Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
- Security Deposit Interest: No statute
- Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute, but the
name of the financial institution where deposit will be held in escrow should be stated in the lease. (AG’s Guidelines (page 6) (pdf))
- Pet Deposits: No statute
- Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
- Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: When the lease ends, the landlord has 21 days to return the deposit. The 21-day period can be shortened or extended by an agreement between the tenant and landlord, but it may not be longer than 30 days. (§§ 6-321 and AG’s Guidelines (page 27) (pdf))
- Permitted Uses of the Deposit: Any deductions that are necessary to cover the contingencies specified in the lease, excluding normal wear and tear. (§§ 6-321)
- Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes, any refunds that are less than the full amount deposited by the tenant shall be accompanied by a signed statement itemizing the amounts retained by the landlord, the purpose for the amounts retained, and a detailed list of expenditures made from the deposit. (§§ 6-321)
- Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
- Receipt of Deposit: No statute
- Failure to Comply: Idaho law provides a four-step process that a tenant can follow to obtain a deposit from a landlord who fails to return the tenant’s deposit or provide an itemized list of deductions within 21 days after the lease ends. See the AG’s Guidelines (page 27) (pdf) for more details.
Lease, Rent & Fees:
- Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease. (AG’s Guidelines (page 6) (pdf))
- Rent Increase Notice: Fifteen-day notice required before the end of the month in which the increase will take effect. (§§ 55-307(1))
- Rent Grace Period: No staute
- Late Fees: No statute, but any late fee policy should be specified in the lease. (AG’s Guidelines (page 6) (pdf))
- Prepaid Rent: No statute
- Returned Check Fees: Landlord may sue in small claims court to recover the amount of the check, plus either $100 or three times the check amount, whichever is greater. See statute for other requirements. (§§ 1-2301(A))
- Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No statute, but the AG’s Guidelines (page 13) (pdf) describes the process available to tenants to give notice and then sue to force the landlord to comply.
- Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute, but the AG’s Guidelines (page 13) (pdf) describes the process available to tenants to give notice and then sue to force the landlord to comply. The only exception relates to the installation of smoke detectors. A tenant, after providing three-day written notice to the landlord, may install the necessary smoke detectors and deduct the cost from the tenant’s next month’s rent. (§§ 6-320(a)(6))
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: In eviction cases, except in cases where triple damages are awarded, the prevailing party is entitled to an award of attorney fees. In cases requiring three-day notice, the notice must advise the tenant that attorney fees shall be awarded to the prevailing party. (§§ 6-324)
- Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No statute, but case law in Industrial Leasing Corporation v. Thomason, 532 P.2d 916 (Idaho 1974) established a landlord’s duty to make reasonable efforts to rerent. The landlord must rerent the property as soon as possible at a reasonable price to limit any monetary losses. (AG’s Guidelines (page 22) (pdf))
- Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute, but the lease should explain the landlord’s rights when a tenant may have abandoned the property. (AG’s Guidelines (page 11) (pdf))
Notices and Entry:
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Notice not required as the lease simply ends. (AG’s Guidelines (pages 23 and 25) (pdf))
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month: A tenancy at will may be terminated by either tenant or landlord with one month’s written notice. (§§ 55-208)
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: One month’s written notice required. (AG’s Guidelines (page 31) (pdf))
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: No statute, but the lease should specify the process the tenant must follow to give proper notice of intent to vacate or terminate the lease. (AG’s Guidelines (page 6) (pdf))
- Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: If a landlord has reasonable grounds to believe any person is or has been engaged in the unlawful delivery, production or use of a controlled substance on the leased premises, the landlord can institute eviction proceedings immediately. (AG’s Guidelines (page 15) (pdf))
- Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute, but lease should define the terms that allow the tenant to attend the landlord’s move-out inspection. (AG’s Guidelines (page 7) (pdf))
- Notice of Termination of Week-to-Week Leases for Nonpayment: Three-day written notice required. (§§ 6-303(2))
- Notice of Termination of All Other Leases for Nonpayment: Three-day written notice required. (§§ 6-303(2))
- Termination for Lease Violation: Three-day written notice required. (§§ 6-303(3))
- Required Notice before Entry: No statute, but lease should specify when and how the landlord may enter the property. (AG’s Guidelines (page 7 and 11) (pdf))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No statute, but the lease should specify the landlord’s right to enter the tenant’s property to inspect for damage and make necessary repairs. (AG’s Guidelines (page 11) (pdf))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No statute, but the lease
should specify the landlord’s right to enter the tenant’s property to show the property to prospective purchasers or tenants at convenient times. (AG’s Guidelines (page 11) (pdf))
- Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute, but the lease
should specify the landlord’s right to enter the tenant’s property in case of emergency involving life or property.
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Three-day notice, if the lease gives landlord right of reentry. (§§ 55-210)
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
- Lockouts Allowed: No (AG’s Guidelines (page 32) (pdf))
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (AG’s Guidelines (page 16) (pdf))
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:
- Name and Addresses: No statute, but should be stated in the lease.(AG’s Guidelines (page 6) (pdf))
- Copy of the Lease: No statute
- Domestic Violence Situations: No statute. Idaho Legal Aid Services offers a Domestic Violence Legal Advice Hotline.
- Landlord’s Duties: Landlords must maintain the premises to protect a tenant’s safety and health. In that regard, landlords must comply
with city and county ordinances and state laws regarding housing conditions. See the AG’s Guidelines (page 12) (pdf) for examples of housing conditions that constitute violations of the landlord’s duties.
- Tenant’s Duties: (AG’s Guidelines (page 14) (pdf))
- Compliance: Obey the landlord’s property regulations and use the
property for only lawful purposes;
- Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and sanitary;
- Trash: Properly dispose of garbage;
- Appliances and plumbing: Use appliances, electrical fixtures and plumbing facilities properly;
- Damage: Prevent family and friends from damaging the property;
- Safety: Prevent injury to others due to actions performed on the tenant’s property.
- Compliance: Obey the landlord’s property regulations and use the
- Retaliation: Landlords may not evict a tenant because the tenant requests that repairs be made or because the tenant joins a tenants’ association. (AG’s Guidelines (page 29) (pdf))
- Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
- Idaho Small Claims Court
- Limits: $5,000
- Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims: No, unlawful detainer (eviction) cases are heard in the district court of the county in which the property is located. (§§ 6-305)
- Information Sheet for Plaintiffs in Small Claims Cases in Idaho
- Idaho Small Claims Court Forms
- Idaho Landlord/Tenant Legal Forms
- Eviction Forms (Latah County)
- Eviction Forms for Landlords (Ada County)
- Forms for Tenants (Ada County)
- Idaho District Courts
- Statute of Limitations
- Idaho Judiciary
- Idaho Attorney General
- Idaho State Bar Association
- Legal Aid:
- Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
- Idaho Department of Insurance
- Idaho Guide to Homeowner’s/Renter’s Insurance
- Business Resources for the State of Idaho
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Idaho
- Idaho Real Estate Commission
- Idaho Housing and Finance Association
- REALTORS® Associations
- Landlord Associations