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Illegal Idaho rental agreement clauses on the rise, nonprofit says

Mark Citton

A Boise nonprofit organization is finding an uptick in unethical - and sometimes illegal - clauses in rental agreements.

Some of these clauses, identified by the rental assistance nonprofit Jesse Tree, said property owners could enter a renter’s property without notice. That’s illegal in Idaho.

Other clauses did much more damage to the renters.

“We also saw many leases that allowed landlords to conduct ‘self help evictions,’ by taking a tenant’s property or shutting off their utilities,” Rabe said on Idaho Matters Monday. "Others required tenants to waive legal rights, such as a trial by jury or a right to sue a landlord."

Under Idaho law, landlords have to give a written notice at least three days before they can pursue legal action against renters for a late payment, Rabe says. Renters also cannot be evicted by the landlord alone; legal proceedings are required.

For renters who signed a lease with these clauses, Rabe says there may not be many options, especially with Idaho’s low vacancy rate.

“I think many tenants feel an obligation to sign a lease agreement when they receive it instead of going through it with the landlord and trying to identify things that they may or may not be allowed to do," Rabe says.

Rabe also says that Idaho renters can increase their monthly rent up to 10% without warning. For renters outside Boise, tenants can also incur an unlimited fee for late payments.

Idaho has seen at least 500 evictions so far this year.

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