The Eviction Process in Idaho: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Idaho eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

In Idaho, evictions are governed by Idaho statutes. If 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 may not be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Idaho.

Notice for Termination With Cause

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.

  • Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: If the tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, then the landlord can give the tenant a written three-day notice to pay rent or quit. This notice will inform the tenant that the tenant has three days to either pay rent or move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not comply with the notice within three days, then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Idaho Code § 6-303(2)).  Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Idaho  has more information on this topic.
  • Three-Day Notice to Perform or Quit: If the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can give the tenant a written three-day notice to perform or quit. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has three days to either comply with the lease or rental agreement or move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Idaho Code § 6-303(3)).
  • Three-Day Notice to Quit: If the tenant seriously damages or sublets the rental unit (and subletting is not allowed under the terms of the lease or rental agreement), then the landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice to quit. Under this notice, the landlord is not required to give the tenant any time to remedy the situation. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit in three days, then the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against the tenant (see  Idaho Code § 6-303(4)).
  • No Notice Required: If the tenant has been involved in any way with illegal drugs while on the premises of the rental unit, then the landlord can terminate the tenancy immediately. In this case, the landlord is not required to give the tenant any kind of notice before going to court and filing an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Idaho Code § 6-303(5)).

Notice for Termination Without Cause

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.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

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 (see  Idaho Code § 55-208).  Idaho Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy  has more information on this subject.

Fixed-Term Lease

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.

Tenant Defenses to Eviction

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.  Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Idaho  has more information.

Removal of the Tenant

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.  Illegal Eviction Procedures in Idaho  has more information on this topic.

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. The  Ada County Sheriff’s Office  has more information about this.  Handling a Tenant’s Abandoned Property in Idaho  also has more information for landlords who find themselves in this situation.

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Idaho law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may 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.

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