Idaho Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Idaho Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Last Updated: January 23, 2024 by Phil Ahn

Quick Facts Answer
Acceptable Deductions As outlined in lease agreement
Return Deadline 21 days
Itemized Deductions Required
Penalty for Late Return 3x Deposit or Attorneys’ Fees + Court Costs

For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Idaho, click here.

Security Deposit Deductions in Idaho

In Idaho, a written lease agreement must state the exact items a landlord intends to deduct from a security deposit in order for them to do so.

However, no part of the security deposit can be considered non-refundable or used to cover normal wear and tear. Common deductions include:

  • Unpaid rent and utilities
  • Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
  • Cleaning costs and trash disposal
  • Failure to return keys

Most states, such as Idaho, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.

If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear in Idaho?

Idaho defines “Normal Wear and Tear” as “deterioration which occurs based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended and without negligence, carelessness, accident, or misuse or abuse of the premises or contents by the tenant or members of his household, or their invitees or guests.”

Examples include:

  • Lightly scratched glass
  • Faded flooring
  • Lightly dirtied grout
  • Loose door handles
  • Stained bath fixtures

Damage” is not specifically defined by Idaho law, but is generally understood to mean destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant.

Examples include:

  • Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
  • Broken tiles or windows
  • Holes in the wall
  • Missing fixtures

Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Idaho?

Landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond normal wear and tear and the charge is included in the conditions of the lease agreement.


A carpet that is slightly discolored or gently worn will be considered normal wear and tear. A carpet with visible stains, major discoloration and rips will be considered excessively damaged.

Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Idaho?

Landlords can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit and the charge is included in the conditions of the lease agreement.

Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures. However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.

Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Idaho?

Landlords in Idaho can charge a cleaning fee if it is stated in the lease agreement, the landlord does not charge for cleaning done as a result of normal wear and tear, and the cleaning fee is reasonable.

Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Idaho?

In Idaho, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear, and the lease agreement states that the deposit may be used to cover damage.  For example, if the tenant:

  • Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
  • Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
  • Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way

Normal wear includes:

  • Minor scrapes from daily use
  • Fading due to sunlight
  • Minor cracks in the original paint

Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.

Security Deposit Returns in Idaho

Landlords must return a security deposit with an itemized statement of deductions, if any, to the tenant no later than 21 days (or as noted in the lease agreement) after the tenant vacates the rental unit.

How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Idaho?

Idaho landlords have 21 days after the tenant vacates the rental unit to return any unused portion of the security deposit. However, the lease agreement can specify a shorter or longer time period for its return as long as it does not exceed 30 days.

Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Idaho?

Unlike in some states, such as New Jersey, landlords in Idaho do not owe interest on security deposits.

How Do Landlords Give Notice in Idaho?

Written notice must be delivered to the tenant and must include the amount of the security deposit due, if any, to the tenant, plus an itemized statement of deductions signed by the landlord.

Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Idaho?

Idaho law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent.

Landlords can include a provision in the lease agreement that the security deposit cannot be used for the last month’s rent until the tenant vacates the rental unit.

Security Deposit Disputes in Idaho

If landlords do not return the security deposit within the 21-day period (or the time period specified in the lease agreement) tenants can file for damages in court up to three times the amount of the deposit  plus court costs.

If the judge does not award triple damages, they may awardattorneys’ fees, but they will not award both.

Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for:

  • Failure to provide an itemized statement when deductions are made
  • Unreasonable deductions

How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Idaho?

If a landlord fails to return the security deposit within the required time period, the tenant can file a dispute in Small Claims Court if the amount of damages is less than $5,000. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file a civil case in the local District Court.

A small claims case must be filed within 2, 4, or 5 years depending on the situation. An attorney is not required. If you hire an attorney, they cannot speak for you at the hearing. Cases are filed in Small Claims Court in the county where the property is located or where the defendant lives. The filing fee is $69.