In Idaho, evictions are governed by Idaho statutes. When a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the landlord must file an eviction lawsuit (also called a forcible entry and unlawful detainer suit) with the court. Because evictions are controlled by state statute, it is very important that the landlord follow all the rules and procedures set forth in the statutes. Otherwise, the eviction might not be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Idaho.
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the landlord must have legal cause. Idaho statutes define legal cause as, among other things, failing to pay rent, violating the lease or rental agreement, or seriously damaging the rental unit. To evict the tenant for one of these reasons, the landlord must first terminate the tenancy. The landlord does this by giving the tenant written notice. The type of notice required will depend on the reason for the eviction.
If a landlord wants a tenant to move out of the rental unit but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord has to just wait until the term of the tenancy has ended before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, the landlord will still need to give the tenant written notice to move.
If the landlord wants to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord can give the tenant a 30-day notice. This notice must inform the tenant that the month-to-month tenancy will end at the end of 30 days and that the tenant must be moved out of the rental unit by that time. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by that time, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. (Idaho Code § 55-208 (2021).)
If the landlord wants a tenant with a fixed-term lease to move but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord will just have to wait until the lease has expired before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord does not need to give the tenant written notice to move unless the terms of the lease specifically require the landlord to do so. If the tenant does not move out by the end of the lease term, then the landlord should stop accepting rent from the tenant and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant.
Although a landlord has legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant can still decide to fight the eviction. The tenant might have a valid legal defense to the eviction, such as the landlord not maintaining the rental unit or discriminating against the tenant. If the tenant fights the eviction, this could increase the costs of the eviction lawsuit and allow the tenant more time to remain living in the rental unit.
The only way for a landlord to remove a tenant from a rental unit is by going to court and winning an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Even after winning the eviction lawsuit, the landlord cannot personally evict the tenant. The eviction must be performed by a law enforcement officer with a court order. If the landlord ever tries to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit, the tenant can sue the landlord for an illegal eviction.
If the landlord wins the eviction lawsuit, then the court will set a date by which the tenant must move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by that date, then a sheriff will come to the property and remove the tenant. If the tenant has moved out but has left behind personal belongings (other than trash), then only the sheriff is allowed to remove those belongings. The landlord must not remove the personal property or dispose of it. The sheriff will store the belongings in a safe place and try to contact the tenant to collect the personal property.
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Idaho law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction might not be valid. Although these rules and procedures can seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.