My tenant hasn’t paid rent. How do I evict in Idaho?

My tenant hasn’t paid rent. How do I evict in Idaho?

Evicting a tenant in Idaho can be risky and costly for Idaho landlords, because the eviction can fail if you don’t precisely follow the Idaho Code.

In almost all cases, Idaho law gives tenants the right to pay their rent within a three-day period before their landlords can evict. So the first thing Idaho landlords must do is serve the tenant with a 3-day notice to pay rent or vacate the property. The information in this notice must comply exactly with the statutory requirements. If your tenant pays rent in full within three days from being served, you cannot evict.

If your tenant doesn’t pay in full within the three-day period, you have the right to evict the tenant. However, you must obtain a court order before an eviction can occur. Don’t try to evict your tenant yourself! You could be subject to triple damages if you attempt to boot your tenant without the proper court order.

So your next step is for you or your Idaho attorney to file a summons and complaint in the county district court where your rental property is located, and then have a process server or sheriff serve the case on your tenant. Unlike normal court cases, you will receive an eviction trial date within 12 days of filing your summons and complaint.

If your tenant does not show up to the court date, the judge will enter a default judgment and order the eviction. This is usually what happens.

But if your tenant appears at trial, then all Idaho landlords need to be prepared to show that the tenant was served properly with the 3-day notice, and that the landlord has not accepted the rent since the 3-day notice expired. So long as the judge finds that service of the 3-day notice and the summons and complaint were proper, and that you did not later accept rent from the tenant, the judge will issue an eviction order, usually with a specified move-out date.

Note that Idaho law only allows you to get an eviction order, and to collect your costs and attorney fees, during the special eviction trial. The judge will not grant Idaho landlords the unpaid rent in this proceeding. Instead, you will need to file a separate damages action for the unpaid rent and damages, usually in small claims court.

If your tenant doesn’t move out by the ordered move-out date, you’ll need to get the sheriff involved. This can be costly. We’ll talk about that, as well as damages lawsuits, in a separate blog post soon, so be sure to Subscribe to our Idaho landlord newsletter!

Have other Idaho landlord-tenant law questions? Contact us today!

– Amanda Breen, Attorney at Law

Amanda Breen Law, PLLC, PO Box 3898, 371 Walnut Ave. N., Ketchum, Idaho 83340

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