As a landlord in Idaho, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the rules regarding when a tenant can break their lease early – both legally and illegally.
In this blog, we at Keyrenter Boise will cover both the justified and unjustified reasons for early lease termination. With this crucial information, you’ll be well-informed when it comes to understanding your rights as well as those of your tenants.
Rental Agreements in Idaho
It’s essential for a landlord to draft a solid lease agreement. But it’s also equally important to ensure that your tenant understands its provisions, including their responsibilities regarding breaking their lease early.
Among other things, you may want them to know the amount of notice they must provide you prior to ending their lease. Specifically, let them know that they must provide you with the following notices.
- One month’s notice to end a month-to-month lease.
- One month’s notice to end a yearly lease that has no specific end date.
In the state of Idaho, tenants on a fixed-term lease aren’t obligated to notify their landlord prior to moving out. (Idaho Code § 55-208).
Idaho landlords don’t have a responsibility to re-rent a unit after a tenant leaves. This means that you can simply choose to sit back and wait for the term to end, then hold the tenant liable for all rent remaining under the lease.
Finally, a solid lease agreement must also state whether a tenant has a right to sublet or not. If you allow it, then make sure your tenant understands their responsibilities, such as if they require your authorization. If you don’t, make sure your tenant understands that there would be consequences that may lead to their eviction.
Unjustified Reasons to Break a Lease in Idaho
Generally speaking, the following reasons don’t provide enough justification under the landlord-tenant laws, to release a tenant from their lease obligations. Consequently, as a landlord, you may penalize them for not honoring their lease obligations, such as paying rent for the remainder of their lease.
The following are common unjustified reasons for breaking a lease early in the state of Idaho.
- Moving into a new home your tenants bought as buying a new property does not invalidate your existing lease.
- Relocating for a new job, school, or to move in with a partner. Even though important, relocation does not invalidate a lease.
- Moving out due to a separation or divorce. The relationship your tenants have with each other has no bearing on the lease. Unless the relationship involves abuse, which will be covered further in this article.
Justified Reasons to Break a Lease in Idaho
As a landlord in Idaho, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the circumstances that may allow a tenant to break their lease early and legally. In Idaho, these reasons are as follows:
Early Termination Clause
Do you have an early termination clause in your lease agreement?
If you do, then a tenant may be able to use it to end their lease early without penalty.
Generally speaking, early termination clauses provide specific terms that a tenant must fulfill prior to breaking their lease. The typical conditions usually have to do with the minimum notice requirements (usually 30 days). As well as the amount the tenant must pay, this fee helps a landlord re-rent the unit.
Bare in mind that if you have taken a security deposit from your tenant, then you may need to resolve this at the point of early termination.
Active Military Duty
Has your tenant been relocated due to deployment or received a permanent change of station? In either case, they are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) against any penalties for breaking their lease.
Tenants using the act as their reason to break their lease must fulfill certain obligations:
- Prove that they signed the lease before they entered active duty.
- Prove that they intend to stay on active duty for over ninety days.
- Provide the landlord with written notice of their intentions, as well as a copy of the letter from their commanding officer.
After these conditions are met, the earliest the lease can end is 30 days after the next rent period has begun.
The state of Idaho defines a “servicemember” as a member belonging to the following military cadres.
- Armed forces
- Activated National Guard
- Commissioned corps of the Public Health Service
- Commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Unit Isn’t Habitable
As a landlord, you have a responsibility under the landlord-tenant laws and the Fair Housing Act to provide your tenant with a habitable rental property. According to Idaho law (Idaho Statutes § 6-320), the following are the conditions that you must avoid keeping the unit habitable.
- Leaky roof or walls
- Insect infestations
- Not providing means for garbage removal
- Nonfunctioning heating units
- Leaving electrical wires exposed
- Not addressing defective plumbing
- Not addressing structural deterioration
As a landlord, it’s important that you respect your tenant’s privacy. So, when entering their rented premises, you may want to provide them advance notice. Though Idaho doesn’t have a law that covers this particular circumstance, so legally a landlord can enter their rented property without consent. But it’s always important to notify your tenant beforehand to prevent potential landlord harassment lawsuits.
Hopefully, you’re now well-versed when it comes to breaking a lease in Idaho. For expert help, Keyrenter Boise can help. We specialize in helping property owners in Boise achieve peace of mind by professionally managing their rentals.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regard to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.