The most frequent Idaho landlord-tenant law disputes that I see are disputes over the return of the security deposit. When the landlord returns less than the full amount of the security deposit at the end of the rental, tenants are understandably unhappy about it, and they often sue their landlords in small claims court. Idaho landlords are also understandably upset when they find damage to their properties beyond normal wear and tear. Yet judges often force the landlord to return the entire security deposit because the landlord failed to follow the law.
So how can Idaho landlords decrease the chance that their tenants will take them to small claims court over the security deposit?
First, make sure that you document everything about the condition of the rental with a checklist during move-in and move-out, including taking dated pictures. If possible, have your tenant sign-off on the checklist.
Next, if you find damage beyond normal wear and tear after move-out, document everything about it, including the cost to repair it. Idaho law then requires that you draft an itemized statement of the amounts retained by the landlord, the purpose for the amounts retained, and a detailed list of expenditures to repair the damage.
And make sure you return the deposit (and/or the itemized statement) within 21 days, or up to 30 days if your lease states it.
Following Idaho law strictly will not eliminate the chance that your tenant will take you to court, but strong documentation and close adherence to legal procedures will certainly make it less likely.
Have other questions about Idaho landlord-tenant law? Contact the Idaho landlord attorneys at Amanda Breen Law today!
– Amanda Breen, Attorney at Law
Amanda Breen Law, PLLC, PO Box 3898, 371 Walnut Ave. N., Ketchum, Idaho 83340