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Idaho lawmakers want to further restrict rental regulations

Flickr Creative Commons, Kurt Bauschardt

Idaho towns and cities won’t be able to regulate fees and deposits charged by landlords if a new bill introduced Monday becomes law.

Idaho legislators already outlawed municipalities from implementing rent control in 1990.

But that law doesn’t account for restrictions on fees or security deposits.

“I believe that was probably missed 30 years ago when they put this piece of legislation in,” said Rep. Joe Palmer (R-Meridian), one of the bill’s sponsors.

If approved, the proposal could repealan ordinance passed by Boise City Council members in 2019 that caps rental application fees at $30.

Boise’s ordinance also limits how the application fee can be used. The money can only go toward background and credits checks, or legal filings.

"I am appalled that during a highly documented housing crisis, our state legislators are attempting to interfere with the local remedies that the City of Boise has put in place to protect renters," said Councilwoman Lisa Sanchez, the architect of the city's ordinance.

Housing advocates say limiting fees helps prevent renters from being taken advantage of in a competitive market.

Landlords argue they need flexibility, for example in the case of someone with poor credit or rental history.

A similar bill was introduced last year, but it didn’t make it out of committee.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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