|Acceptable Deductions||As outlined in lease agreement|
|Return Deadline||21 days|
|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 & Tear vs Damage in Idaho?
Normal wear and tear is damage that is expected when a rental unit is used in a normal way, such as gently worn carpets and faded walls. Damage is the destruction caused by abusive or negligent use of a rental unit, like ripped carpets and heavily stained walls.
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.”
- 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.
- 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?
Yes, 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.
Some wear and tear on a rental unit’s carpet is expected after normal day-to-day use of the property. For example, carpets typically become discolored, indented, or gently worn, when used in a normal way. However, non-typical, abusive use of carpet results in rips, visible stains, or burns. Landlords have the right to charge the tenant for the replacement of the carpet in areas where serious damage has occurred.
Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Idaho?
Yes, 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?
Yes, 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, or 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.
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 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 / What Information Do They Have to Provide 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.
A template of a security deposit return letter is available to download on our website.
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 award attorneys’ 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.
Our website provides more information about the process of filing a dispute in Small Claims Court.
- 1 ID Code § 6-321
…all amounts held by the landlord as a security deposit shall be refunded to the tenant, except amounts necessary to cover the contingencies specified in the deposit arrangement.Source Link
- 2 ID Code § 6-321
“Normal wear and tear” means that 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.Source Link
- 3 ID Code § 6-321
Refunds shall be made within twenty-one (21) days if no time is fixed by agreement and, in any event, within thirty (30) days after surrender of the premises by the tenant.Source Link
- 4 ID Code § 6-321
Any refunds in an amount less than the full amount deposited by the tenant shall be accompanied by a signed statement itemizing the amounts lawfully retained by the landlord, the purpose for the amounts retained, and a detailed list of expenditures made from the deposit.Source Link
- 5 ID Code § 6-317
If a landlord or a tenant recovers damages for…an action brought pursuant to section 6-320…judgment may be entered for three (3) times theSource Link
amount at which the actual damages are assessed.
- 6 ID Code § 6-324
In any action brought under the provisions of this chapter, except in those cases where treble damages are awarded, the prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of attorney fees.Source Link
- 7 ID Code § 1-2301
…a “Small Claims Department of the Magistrate’s Division,”…shall have jurisdiction in cases for the recovery of money where the amount of each claim does not exceed five thousand dollars…Source Link