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Bill requiring 30 days' warning on rent increases passes House, security deposit bill fails

This is a watered-down version of her original legislation, which would have required landlords to give 45 days’ notice.
Credit: David Zalubowski/AP
File image of a rental sign outside a home.

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho House passed one renter protection bill and killed another one Thursday afternoon.

A bill from House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, requiring landlords to give tenants at least 30 days’ notice before raising the rent or not renewing the lease passed with bipartisan support, the Idaho Press reports.

On the other hand, legislation from Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, that would require landlords to conduct a walk-through with tenants upon move out and provide an itemized receipt of security deposit expenses failed by more than 20 votes.

Wintrow said her bill had letters of approval from tenants’ rights groups, the Idaho Apartment Association and realtor advocacy groups, who were able to come to a compromise. She argued the legislation would resolve conflicts between renters and landlords in the increasingly tight housing market, because the combination of a walk-through and an itemized receipt would stop tenants from being overcharged so they can use their security deposits to move to a new property.

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“I don’t think it’s asking too much in the imbalance of power between tenants and landlords to give (tenants) a little bit,” she said. “All this bill does is provide some transparency to keep everybody on the same page.”

She told stories of her constituents being overcharged for cleaning or other “damages” to apartments, which she said could have been prevented with this simple requirement. The bill was voted down 22-46, with many conservative legislators objecting because they did not feel it was practical.

Rep. Doug Ricks, R-Rexburg, said this requirement would not be feasible in a college town with lots of renters like his district because of the sheer number of students trying to move in and out all at the same time. Another objection came from Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot, who said this requirement was not needed because there were already sufficient protections for tenants in the move-out process.

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“It’s already illegal for them to charge for normal wear and tear, and this would make it so they have to produce a receipt even if they refund the entire security deposit,” she said. “And I think this is regulation above and beyond what we should be doing here.”

Like Wintrow, Rubel listed off a list of tenant advocacy groups and property owners and manager associations in support of her bill requiring landlords give 30 days’ notice before raising rent. Her bill passed 47-22.

“I think it’s an exciting day when the two sides have come together to try and solve this,” she said.

This is a watered-down version of her original legislation, which would have required landlords to give 45 days’ notice before raising rent 10% for tenants on a lease and 30 days’ notice for month-to-month tenants. The earlier version easily passed out of committee, but never got a vote on the House floor.

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