State Evictions

Idaho Eviction Process

October 24, 2023

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Eviction In Idaho

If you own and rent properties in the state of Idaho, you might have wondered before, “What is the law on eviction exactly?” As a landlord in the state, you are responsible for complying with Idaho eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in Idaho. 

Idaho’s eviction laws can be found at Idaho Code § 6-301 to 6-324 

Eviction Process in Idaho 

  1. Landlord serves an immediate or three-day eviction notice. 
  1. Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court. 
  1. Court serves the tenant a summons. 
  1. Tenant files an answer. 
  1. Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment. 
  1. Tenant gets 72 hours to move out. 
  1. Sheriff arrives to forcibly remove the tenant. 

According to the Idaho eviction process, tenants can be evicted for defaulting on rent, failing to perform other conditions of the lease, committing waste on the premises, or engaging in the unlawful delivery, production, or use of a controlled substance on the premises (Idaho Code § 6-303). 

1. Landlord Serves an Immediate or Three-Day Eviction Notice 

If any of the above lease violations occur, the landlord must first serve an Idaho eviction notice and state that the tenant has the appropriate number of days to remedy or cure the violation. There are four possible eviction notices a landlord can send in Idaho: 

  • Rent Demand Notice: 3 days to pay or quit (downloadable here). If rent is unpaid when due, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the among of unpaid rent required to remedy the breach and the date on which the lease will terminate if it is not paid (not less than three days after receipt of the notice). The notice must also state that should a judgment be entered against the tenant in court, they will have 72 hours to move out and remove their belongings (Idaho Code § 6-303(2)). 
  • Lease Violation Notice: 3 days to cure or quit. If a tenant violates another lease term, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the breach and what is required to remedy it, as well as the date on which the lease will terminate if the tenant does not cure the breach (not less than three business days after receipt of the notice) (Idaho Code § 6-303(3)). 
  • Lease Violation Notice (Committing Waste/Subletting Without Permission): 3 days to quit. If the tenant commits waste (severe destruction or property damage) on the leased property, no cure period is required, and a three-day quit notice suffices to terminate the tenancy (Idaho Code § 6-303(4)). 
  • Unconditional Notice to Quit: Immediate. This notice gives no opportunity to “cure” the violation and applies if the tenant engages in the unlawful delivery, production, or use of a controlled substance on the premises (Idaho Code § 6-303(5)). This represents an uncurable breach of the rental agreement, so landlords in Idaho can file for eviction immediately after serving notice. 

Idaho tenant eviction laws designate that all notices must be delivered to the tenant personally or, if the tenant is absent, by doing one of the following as per Idaho Code § 6-304

  1. Leaving a copy of the notice with a person of suitable age and discretion either at the tenant’s residence or usual place of business 
  1. If the above cannot be done, by posting the notice in a conspicuous place on the property, giving it to any person residing there, and also sending a copy through certified mail. 

For all evictions, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees. 

2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court 

If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord can then file a complaint for forcible entry and unlawful detainer (the eviction lawsuit) with the Idaho District Court of the county where the rental property is located (Idaho Code § 6-305). 

The Complaint for Eviction (downloadable here) should include the names of both parties as well as the following details as per Idaho Code § 6-310(1)

  • A description of the rental property 
  • The fact that the tenant is currently in possession 
  • The tenant’s lease violation (e.g., that they are currently in default of rent or that the landlord has reasonable grounds to believe they are engaged in the unlawful use of controlled substances on the premises) 
  • A copy of the eviction notice and a statement verifying that it was appropriately served to the tenant as required by law 
  • A statement asserting that the landlord is entitled to possession of the property 

The landlord will also need to pay a filing fee of $166 (for claims less than $10,000) or $221 (for claims more than $10,000). The landlord can choose whether to combine the complaint for possession with a complaint for monetary damages or to pursue damages at a separate trial (Idaho Code § 6-311E). They can also choose to file an expedited complaint for eviction

3. Court Serves Tenant a Summons 

The next step in the Idaho eviction process is serving the summons. After the landlord files the complaint, the court will issue Summons for Eviction form (downloadable here) to be completed, served, and returned as in other civil actions. The summons will include the date of the court hearing, which should be within 12 days of the filing date. It will be served with a copy of the complaint and a notice of the trial at least five days before the hearing date (Idaho Code § 6-310(2)). For service of the summons and complaint, the sheriff will charge a fee of $10

The tenant can delay the eviction hearing by filing a continuance for at maximum two days (Idaho Code § 6-311). 

If the purpose of the eviction action is to remove a squatter who did not enter into a rental agreement with the owner of the property, the court hearing must be scheduled for a date within 72 hours of the date the complaint was filed (Idaho Code § 6-310(4)). 

4. Tenant Files an Answer 

After receiving the summons and complaint, the tenant has 21 days to file an Answer to Complaint for Eviction (downloadable here) with the clerk of the court as per civil court procedures in small claims magistrate court. The written answer is the tenant’s chance to admit or deny the landlord’s allegations and explain why they believe the eviction lawsuit is invalid or the eviction should not occur. The answer should also state any affirmative defenses the tenant intends to claim for nonpayment, including: 

  • The tenant attempted to pay their overdue rent, but the landlord refused it. 
  • The landlord never served the legal three-day eviction notice. 
  • The eviction notice was incomplete or filled out incorrectly. 
  • The landlord didn’t wait the required three days before filing the complaint. 

If the tenant does not file an answer within the 21 days, a default judgment will be awarded to the landlord (Idaho Code § 1-2303). 

5. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment 

On the day of the eviction hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, the eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment.  

If the judgment is in the landlord’s favor, the district court will then issue a Writ of Restitution of Premises (downloadable here), which is an order for the tenant’s removal. For nonpayment cases, this writ will be issued five days after the date the judgment was entered. During those five days, the tenant in default may avoid eviction and satisfy the judgment by paying all overdue rent with interest, damages, and court costs. However, in all other cases, the judgment can be enforced immediately (Idaho Code § 6-316(1)). 

6. Tenant Gets 72 Hours to Move Out 

After the writ has been issued, the landlord may post and execute the writ of restitution or arrange for the sheriff to do so for a fee of $10. Residential tenants living on properties less than five acres get 72 hours to move out and remove their belongings from the premises after the writ has been posted (commercial tenants get seven days) (Idaho Code § 6-316(2)). 

7. Sheriff Arrives to Forcibly Remove the Tenant 

If the tenant has not moved out at the end of the 72 hours, the sheriff will return to restore possession of the premises to the landlord and forcibly remove the tenant. The landlord may remove and dispose of any abandoned personal property that the tenant leaves behind, including vehicles as per Idaho Code § 49-1806. The landlord is not obligated to compensate the tenant for the belongings or store them, and the court may even grant the landlord reasonable costs for its removal (Idaho Code § 6-316(2)). 

Evicting a Squatter in Idaho 

A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria. In Idaho, squatters must have lived in the property for 20 years to invoke Idaho squatters rights and claim right of possession (Idaho Code § 5-203). Their possession must also be: 

  • Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner 
  • Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property 
  • Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there. 
  • Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.  
  • Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession. 

While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they have “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in Idaho to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed. If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in Idaho, you should: 

  1. Call local law enforcement. 
  1. Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter. 
  1. If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer. 
  1. If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office. 
  1. Send the squatter an eviction notice as per Idaho eviction law. 
  1. If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the notice period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process. 
  1. Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer. 

Idaho Eviction Cost Estimates 

This chart shows estimates of the approximate cost of an eviction in Idaho, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress. 

Action Approximate Cost 
Filing fee $166 or $221 
Service of court summons  $10 
Service and execution of writ of possession $10 
Legal fees $500-$10,000 
Average locksmith fees $160 
Storage fees for abandoned property Varies 
Tenant turnover costs Varies 

Idaho Eviction Time Estimates 

The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the eviction process. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.  

Action Duration 
Eviction notice period 0-3 days 
Service of summons to tenant At least 5 days before the hearing 
Tenant response period 21 days 
Maximum continuance 2 days 
Eviction hearing  12 days after the filing date 
Issuance of writ of restitution 0-5 days 
Time to quit after writ is posted 0-72 hours 
 Total  2 weeks to 2 months 

Court Documents

Additional Resources 

Conclusion 

The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and Idaho laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state. 

Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information. 

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