When a tenant in Idaho fails to pay his or her rent, violates a term of the lease, or has engaged in the selling, using or manufacturing a controlled substance, a landlord can only evict the tenant by following certain steps to obtain a court order evicting the tenant.
The Idaho eviction process does not permit landlords to take matters into their own hands, or to self-evict a tenant, by changing the locks, turning off utilities, or by confiscating the tenant’s personal property, all of which could subject the landlord to substantial financial penalties such as treble damages for forcible or unlawful entry.
A landlord also may not institute eviction proceedings in retaliation for a tenant exercising his or her rights such as requesting that material repairs be made.
Idaho Eviction Notice Requirements
Should the tenant fail to pay the rent, violate a term of a fixed-term lease or have violated the controlled substances laws, the landlord can post a 3-Day Notice on the tenant’s door or serve it personally. The notice must include the amount of rent due; indicate the lease term that has been violated; or state that he or she is using, selling, delivering or manufacturing a controlled substance and has 3 days to cure the violation, pay the rent or leave the premises.
For any other reason, a 30-day written notice is required or when there is a periodic tenancy (month-to month).
If the unit is public housing or the tenant receives government housing assistance, the reason for receiving the notice must be for good cause. Mobile home owners who are renting a space have certain other requirements that a landlord must review.
This type of notice is required if the landlord intends to occupy the unit or property as a primary residence.
Unlawful Detainer Complaint
Should the tenant ignore the Eviction Notice remain in the unit, the landlord may proceed with the Idaho eviction process by filing and serving an Idaho Unlawful Detainer complaint. There is an expedited process where the issue is unpaid rent or violation of the controlled substances laws whereby a trial date is scheduled from 5 to 12 days after the unlawful detainer action has been served.
For 30-day written notices or for those 3-day notices not involving a failure to pay rent or for a controlled substance violation, a Summons and Complaint must be filed and served on the tenant. A tenant can be served personally at the unit, at his or her usual place of business, or left with a subtenant in the unit who is of suitable age and discretion and mailing it to the tenant. Should the server be unable to do either or these, then the Summons and Complaint may be served by affixing to the door or other conspicuous place and by mailing it.
The Idaho eviction process provides that the tenant has 20-days to serve and file an Answer to the complaint. Filing an Answer also gives the tenant more time to prepare and find another place to live.
An unlawful detainer trial is usually held before a judge only. If there are issues in dispute, the parties are entitled to a jury trial unless waived.
At trial, the parties may present any evidence by way of witnesses or documents, which should be made available to the other party before the trial. If there is to be a jury trial, the rules of discovery may be used to determine what evidence the other party intends to present along with any defenses and their version of the events leading to the dispute.
If the tenant has a reasonable excuse or defense, he or she should demonstrate to the court attempts to resolve the matter with the landlord and that all relevant documents were sent to the landlord at a reasonable time in advance of the trial.
A Default will be entered if the tenant fails to appear or a Dismissal if the landlord or his or her attorney does not appear. If the case is dismissed, the tenant may be able to collect attorney’s fees and court costs if requested in the Answer.
Writ of Restitution
If a default is entered or the tenant loses, the court will issue a Writ of Restitution. If the eviction notice asked for attorney’s fees and an attorney represented the landlord in the Idaho eviction process, then the court will also award legal fees.
A court will give a tenant a few days to vacate the unit and to remove all personal belongings. If the tenant does not leave, a sheriff’s deputy is empowered by the Writ of Restitution to remove the tenant and move all of his or her property to a storage facility. The tenant is obligated to pay the storage fees.
If after a prescribed time and the tenant’s belongings are still in storage, the landlord may either dispose of the items or sell them. To collect past rent still owing, the landlord may obtain a money judgment and garnish the tenant’s wages or seize any nonexempt personal or real property.
The Landlord Guidance
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