Tenant Protections During an Eviction in Idaho

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Image by James Thompson on Flickr CC BY 2.0.

In Idaho, eviction proceedings are called “unlawful detainer actions.” Idaho tenants are generally unable to withhold rent for any reason. If a tenant does fall behind on rent payments or violates other lease provisions, there are certain protections afforded under the law. Here are several things to keep in mind:

1. Expedited proceedings are only available for claims of non-payment of rent, drug activity, or tenancy at sufferance.

I.C. 6-310 allows for a court date and decision within 12 days of filing an unlawful detainer action. This timetable is outside the normal civil process. Because the process is accelerated, Idaho only allows this expedited process in certain situations, specifically (1) non-payment of rent, (2) delivery, use, or production of illegal substances, or (3) in the event that the occupant is a “tenant at sufferance.” A tenant at sufferance is defined by I.C. 45-1506(11) as someone remaining in a foreclosed property on the 10th day after the trustee’s sale. If an expedited proceeding is brought for any other reason than the 3 listed in I.C. 6-310 is expressly improper based on the language of the statute.

2. Eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent first require a proper 3 day notice be given to the tenant.

I.C. 6-303(2) requires a 3 day notice be given when a tenant is late paying rent. The notice must: (1) be in writing, (2) state the amount of rent owed, (3) demand tenant pay the amount due or vacate the premises within 3 days of the notice. The day the notice is received is day 0, with the following day as day 1. The tenant has until the end of the third day to pay rent owed. Weekends and holidays do not typically count. If the notice is not personally served on the tenant, it must be posted in a conspicuous place on the property (e.g. the door) and a copy must be mailed to the tenant. If the specific requirements of the notice are not met, an unlawful detainer action is improper.

3. Eviction for drug activity can be swift and does not require notice be given before filing.

I.C. 6-303(5) allows for an unlawful detainer action in the following situation:

If any person is, or has been, engaged in the unlawful delivery, production or use of a controlled substance on the premises of the leased property during the term for which the premises are let to the tenant.

While most leases include provisions to this effect, Idaho allows for an expedited eviction based on drug related activity regardless. The terms of the statute are defined by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act in I.C. 37-2701. While I.C. 37-2701 is a criminal statute, a civil standard would be applied in an unlawful detainer action. 

4. A 30 day notice to end a month-to-month lease agreement is not an unlawful detainer action however non-compliance could lead to an action being filed.

A month-to-month lease allows for either party to end the landlord tenant relationship at any time with a written notice. Notice cannot be waived in a lease. The flexibility that a month-to-month lease brings can be beneficial to a tenant however that same benefit is afforded to the landlord. If a tenant does not comply with a 30 day notice to end the tenancy, an unlawful detainer action can be brought.