Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Idaho

Landlords can evict a tenant who fails to pay rent in Idaho. Here’s how.

The most common reason a tenant gets evicted is for failing to pay rent. In Idaho, a landlord can take steps toward eviction the very day after rent is due if it remains unpaid.

Paying Rent in Idaho

Rent is generally due on the first day of every month, regardless of whether that day is a weekend or holiday. In Idaho, if a tenant does not pay rent the day it is due, then the very next day, a landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate.

Keep in mind that the landlord and the tenant can always agree to different terms within the lease. For example, the landlord could agree that if the first of the month is a holiday, such as New Year's Day, then rent will be due the following business day without any penalties. Agreements such as this must be in writing and be part of the lease to be valid.

Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate

The first step in the eviction process is for a landlord to give a tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate, also sometimes referred to as a three-day notice of eviction. The landlord can give this notice to the tenant the day after rent is due if the rent remains unpaid. This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has three days to pay rent in full or move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not pay rent or move, then the landlord can proceed with the eviction through the court system (see Idaho Code § 6-303(2)).

The three-day notice must be written and include the following information:

  • the date the notice was served on the tenant(s)
  • name(s) and address of the tenant(s)
  • the total amount of rent due and owing
  • a statement that the tenant owes rent and must pay it within three days or move out of the rental unit, or the landlord will file an eviction lawsuit with the court, and
  • a certificate of service specifying how the demand was given to the tenant.

For help preparing the three-day notice, visit IdahoLegalAid.org.

Giving a Three-day Notice to a Tenant

A landlord has several options when giving a three-day notice to pay or vacate to a tenant:

  1. The landlord, or landlord's agent, can personally hand the notice directly to the tenant.
  2. If the tenant cannot be found, the landlord can give the notice to someone else of a suitable age living at the rental unit and also mail the notice to the tenant's residence (typically the rental unit).
  3. If no one can be found at the rental unit to give the notice to, then the landlord can post the notice in a conspicuous place at the rental unit, such as taped to the front door and mail a copy of the notice to the rental unit address.

See Idaho Code § 6-304.

Tenant Responses to a Three-day Notice

The tenant has several options when responding to a three-day notice:

  1. The tenant could choose to pay the rent within the three-day period. If the tenant does this, the landlord must not proceed with the eviction.
  2. The tenant could choose to move out of the rental unit within the three-day period. If the tenant chooses this option but does not pay rent, the landlord can use the tenant's security deposit to cover the unpaid rent. If the security deposit is not enough, then the landlord can still sue the tenant for the unpaid rent.
  3. The tenant could do nothing. If the tenant does not pay rent or move out of the rental unit by the end of the three-day period, then the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit.

Going to Court

In order to evict a tenant, a landlord must file an eviction lawsuit, also called a forcible entry and unlawful detainer suit, with the district court of the county in which the rental unit is located. To do this, the landlord will file a complaint and summons with the court. The complaint will list all the reasons why the eviction should occur, namely, that the tenant failed to pay rent when it was due and owing. The court will then issue a date for a trial before a judge, and the tenant will be notified of the upcoming lawsuit. At the trial, the judge will listen to both the landlord and the tenant and make a decision regarding the eviction. If the landlord wins the lawsuit, the judge will issue a judgment that allows the sheriff or constable to evict the tenant by a specified date (see Idaho Code § 6-305–316).

The Idaho Judicial Branch offers landlord/tenant forms that include all the paperwork needed for the eviction lawsuit.

It is very important to note that the landlord must never personally try to force a tenant to move out of the rental unit. Only a sheriff or constable has that authority, and that's only after the landlord successfully wins the eviction lawsuit. If the landlord tries to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit, using such means as changing the locks on the doors or threatening or intimidating the tenant, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages. Actions such as these are often referred to as "self-help" evictions. For more information on "self-help" evictions, see Landlord and Tenant Guidelines, published by the Idaho Attorney General, and the Nolo article Illegal Eviction Procedures in Idaho.

Additional Resources for Landlord-Tenant Relations in Idaho

Idaho Legal Aid has a comprehensive section on landlord-tenant issues, including forms commonly used. The Idaho charts in the State Landlord-Tenant Laws section of the Nolo website also have useful landlord-tenant information. For more eviction articles, see Nolo's section on Evicting a Tenant or Ending a Lease.

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