When you sign a lease for an apartment, your landlord will probably require you to pay a security deposit. Later, when your lease ends and you vacate the apartment, you'll want your security deposit back as soon as possible.
How much a landlord may collect from you as a security deposit varies across the United States. In addition, states have their own laws that regulate how long a landlord may take to return your deposit, whether you're owed interest, the consequences for a landlord who fails to follow the law, and more.
Q: Why would an Idaho landlord collect a security deposit from tenants?
A: Idaho landlords aren't required to collect a security deposit from tenants. But because it's in a landlord's best interest to do so, it has become common practice. When a landlord collects a security deposit, it's a way of helping to ensure that the tenant will keep the apartment in good shape, pay the rent, and not suddenly break the lease and disappear, which could mean the tenant doesn't get the deposit returned.
Q: What's the most an Idaho landlord can get from a tenant as a security deposit?
A: Idaho's statutes impose no limit on the amount a landlord can get from a tenant as a security deposit.
Q: How long does an Idaho landlord have to return a tenant's security deposit?
A: An Idaho landlord has up to 21 days after the end of a tenant's lease term to return the security deposit, unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise in writing. Although the 21-day period can be shortened or extended by the tenant and landlord, it may not be longer than 30 days under any circumstances.
Q: May an Idaho landlord legally keep some or all of a tenant's security deposit?
A: Yes. A landlord may apply some or all of a tenant's security deposit to cover back rent as well as damages caused by the tenant. If a landlord is returning any amount less than the full security deposit, the landlord has up to 21 days (or a different amount agreed upon, not to exceed 30 days) to send written notice to the tenant, in which the deductions are itemized.
Q: How can a tenant ensure she gets her security deposit from an Idaho landlord?
A: The tenant must request the return of the security deposit in writing and give the landlord a forwarding address for the return of the security deposit and/or an itemized accounting. If a tenant doesn't take this step, the Idaho landlord should mail the deposit and/or accounting to the tenant's last known address, which could be the tenant's recently vacated apartment, or personally deliver the deposit and/or accounting to the tenant.
Q: What happens if an Idaho landlord doesn't return the deposit on time?
A: If a landlord doesn't send the security deposit or itemized accounting within the 21-day (or other agreed-upon) period, the landlord may be liable to pay the tenant up to three times the amount of the original security deposit, plus court and attorney's fees.
Q: Is an Idaho landlord required to keep security deposits in separate accounts?
A: Idaho requires landlords to keep a tenant's security deposit in a separate account to prevent commingling, however security deposits don't need to earn interest during the tenancy.