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Bill to erase rental application fee cap passes Idaho House

Idaho Statehouse
Posted at 4:48 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 18:48:27-05

BOISE, Idaho — Legislation related to rental application fees such as regulating fees and deposits passed the House Monday and is now on its way to the Senate.

The bill was brought forward about three weeks ago and looks to amend Idaho code by clarifying that local governments may not control or regulate rent, fees, or deposits when leasing private residential property.

“Currently in Idaho law, we prohibit local jurisdictions or any government entity from rent control. All this bill does is continue clarification of that by adding in fees and deposits,” said Republican Rep. Joe Palmer of Meridian.

Joe Palmer
Joe Palmer (R) Meridian

The bill passed the House 54 in favor and 14 opposed. The legislation introduced by Palmer would get rid of the City of Boise’s current regulation on rental application fees which are capped at $30.

“This is not about Boise; I didn’t bring up Boise,” Palmer said. “Opponents of the bill brought it up about Boise. If Boise wants more apartments, then they should get out of the way and let builders come in and build more apartments.”

Related: Bill to eliminate Boise's rental application fee cap introduced Monday

Democratic Rep. Colin Nash of Boise said he was contacted by a landlord in his district who is opposed to the bill.

“He shared with me that about two weeks ago, he listed one of the units in his four-plex for rent and received 60 applications in the same day,” Nash said. “If he’s charging $30 a pop making $2,000 off a group of people, 98% of which will never rent a unit from him.”

Other lawmakers stood up in support of the bill.

HB442

“This bill is unnecessary for anyone who is an honest, fair landlord or management company,” Rep. Bruce Skaug of Nampa said. “We should be playing this role in protecting consumers from unscrupulous bad actors. This bill protects bad actors from consumers.”

Last week during a press conference, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said it is important cities have the tools to meet the needs of the communities.

“We are asking that the legislature not restrict the tools that cities can use around the state to meet affordability needs in their own community,” McLean said.

The bill still needs to pass a Senate committee, a full Senate hearing and a signature from the governor.