The Idaho rental application form is a document that landlords send out to a prospective tenant to collect personal and financial information. The information is used to screen the applicant, which helps the landlord to decide who they are going to award the lease to.
Idaho Laws on Rental Application Fees
In Idaho, there is no limit or maximum rental application fee a landlord can charge a prospective tenant. It’s advised to not charge more than the average out-of-pocket expense, but ultimately the determination of the fee is at the sole discretion of the landlord.
Idaho law states that a rental unit must be available to rent, and the landlord must disclose to the tenant (prior to accepting an application) that they will review the applicant’s criminal history, credit score, income, employment history and rental history.
Additionally, security deposits do not have a cap or maximum amount set by Idaho state law. Landlords are also not required to provide a receipt or inform the tenant of where the security deposit is being held.
What Idaho Rental Application Forms Can’t Ask About
The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against the following protected classes:
- National Origin (Nationality)
- Familial Status (Having or not having children)
- Disability (Physical or Mental)
Exemptions from Fair Housing laws do exist. In Idaho, the following exemptions are allowed:
- Familial Status – it is acceptable to ask about and base an application decision on if children will occupy the rented premises in any two-family owner-occupied buildings.
- Age – landlords may ask for an applicant’s age in the case of age-restricted communities such as senior housing. This federal exemption, known as the Housing for Older Persons Exemption, applies to people who are 62 years or older.
- Owner Occupied Properties – dwellings with four units or less where one unit is occupied by the owner or a family member are exempt from Fair Housing Laws also known as the Mrs. Murphy Exemption, unless a real estate agent represents the landlord.
- Religious Organizations – religion can be used as a basis for giving priority to certain applicants for a rental property that is owned, operated, or controlled by a religious organization that does not rent for commercial purposes. However, other protected classes may not be the basis for making a decision as a result of this exemption. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
- Private Clubs – private clubs that operate without public access or commercial intent may provide preferential treatment of applications for lodgings owned or operated by the club. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
Federally, race is a non-exemption criteria that cannot have an influence on the choice of whether to rent to an applicant or not regardless of existing exemptions.
Consent for Background Checks
Before a landlord can run a credit check based on the prospective tenant’s information on the submitted rental application, the Federal Credit Reporting Act requires that written consent must be given by the applicant. This written consent can be given via a statement of such and signature on the rental application form itself (like in our free template), or via a separate consent form (such as this one).
Processing a Rental Application
The next step in the tenant screening process is to use the information on the rental application form to conduct a background check:
- Credit Check – subject to the tenant’s written consent, a credit check will either provide a simpler “pass/fail” report, or a full credit report including the tenant’s credit score and information about their income, employment, past addresses, credit inquiries and more.
- Eviction Check – an eviction check aims to show the tenant’s history of eviction filings or judgments against them at any point in the last 7 years.
- Criminal History Check – a criminal history check aims to show any records involving the tenant in state court criminal records or in databases such as the national sex offender public registry.
Idaho Eviction Record Search
Eviction records can be accessed by anyone, which means that you can complete your own background check using this information instead of using a third-party service. Electronic records are available in all 44 counties dating back from 1995.
To access the eviction records:
- Go to the iCourt Portal. Court record requests must be made in the case’s county or municipality. These courts can be found in this directory.
- For a basic records search, select ‘Smart Search’ at the bottom of the page. From there you will be prompted to enter either a record number or the party’s name in the Last Name, First Name format.
- Select the case number to view details.
- Press “continue” to pay for and access the documents.
Adverse Action Notices
If you acquire a consumer report for an applicant (i.e., credit, eviction or criminal history) and take an “adverse action” against them such as any of the following:
- Rejecting the applicant
- Requiring a co-signer (when they didn’t include one before)
- Requiring a larger security deposit
- Requiring higher rent
Then you are legally required to provide the tenant with a notice letter that includes certain details, known as an “adverse action notice”. This is required even if the consumer report’s information wasn’t the primary reason for the action.
The notice must include details about the consumer reporting agency, an explanation that they didn’t take the adverse action themselves (and can’t explain why it was made) and a statement on the applicant’s right to a copy of the report and to dispute its contents within 60 days. Additionally, when rejecting an applicant, it’s recommended to specify the reason (but not legally required).
For an example, see this tenant rejection letter template.