ADA COUNTY, Idaho — Danette Brookshire received rental assistance from St. Vincent de Paul to pay her September rent bill, but her landlord refused the payment because it came from a third party.
"The landlord actually called St. Vincent and said, 'I consulted with my lawyers and said we can't take 3rd party checks.' which is ridiculous to me," Brookshire said. "It doesn't make any sense to me. I have someone here willing to pay my rent, but you won't take the payment? I really don't understand."
Brookshire received this rental assistance after a rough August. The court finalized her divorce and she lost her job.
"Divorce is very expensive, especially after 20 years, of a divorce," Brookshire said. "We have a good relationship which I am thankful for."
Brookshire is still on the hook for a $565 monthly rent bill. She is actively looking for jobs and has two interviews lined up in as many days. However, regaining employment does not solve her problem inherently.
"It's still gonna take me [at least] two weeks to get a paycheck," Brookshire said. "Is that gonna cover what I’m behind? Then, here comes rent again on [Oct. 5] in a couple weeks. It's very stressful."
Landlords are not required to accept payment from a third party to fulfil the lease agreement, according to Jesse Tree Executive Director Ali Rabe.
"I don't know if it's been litigated in Idaho or other states, but unless the lease agreement says differently, usually the tenant is required to pay the rent," Rabe said. "Landlords are not required to take money from anybody else."
Most landlords who work with Jesse Tree are accommodating for tenants who need extra assistance, according to Rabe. However, that is not always the case.
"They don't think the tenant's gonna be able to pay rent moving forward. They just want to get a new tenant," Rabe said.
Numbers from Jesse Tree suggest this is a misconception. More than 90% of people who received eviction prevention assistance from Jesse Tree remain housed and do not return for future help, according to Rabe.
Demand for eviction prevention service in the Treasure Valley has more than doubled at Jesse Tree compared to previous years. Rabe's team is assisting up to 40 cases a week in court.
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