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.
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.
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:
For help preparing the three-day notice, visit IdahoLegalAid.org.
A landlord has several options when giving a three-day notice to pay or vacate to a tenant:
See Idaho Code § 6-304.
The tenant has several options when responding to a three-day notice:
In order to actually 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 this 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.
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.