An Eviction Without Cause

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

There are really only two types of evictions that exist in Idaho. The first type of eviction is called a “for cause” eviction and the second is called “without cause.” An eviction “for cause” simply means a landlord is evicting a tenant because the tenant has breached some term of the rental agreement. Any breach of the rental agreement can result in a “for cause” eviction. The most common breach of the rental agreement by a tenant is the failure to pay rent.

The law concerning an eviction “without cause” is narrower with only three real circumstances being involved. The first deals with the terms of the rental agreement itself. A rental agreement is a contract and the parties to the contract are free to negotiate the terms of the contract so long as those terms don’t contravene existing law. There is no prohibition against the parties to a rental agreement providing a “without cause” term in the rental agreement. In other words, the parties to a rental agreement are free to agree that either party can at any time, with proper notice, terminate the rental agreement without cause. This is a common term in many rental agreements that are associated with the right to renew. This is an especially common term in many commercial rental arrangements. However, a without cause term does not have to be related to a renewal of the rental agreement. For instance, if the parties agree that the rental agreement can be terminated by either or both of the parties without cause with a 20-day written notice, that term would be enforceable.

While there are no prohibitions against a “without cause” term in a rental agreement, this does not give a landlord free reign. A court will require some measure of reasonableness in a rental agreement as a protection in favor of the tenant, particularly because the rental agreement is almost always drafted by a landlord. For this reason, it is unlikely that Idaho courts would enforce a rental agreement providing a “without cause” term that does not give the tenant some period of reasonable notice before the without cause term can be exercised.

An eviction “without cause” is a little different if the lease term has already expired but the landlord continues to accept rental payments from the tenant, or in the case of an “at will” month-to-month lease regardless of whether it is written or oral. Idaho Code § 55-208 states that an “at will” lease, regardless of how it was created, can only be terminated by the landlord providing notice in writing to the tenant.

In most instances, this written notice must be served upon the tenant more than one month before the termination will occur, must provide a definite termination date and must be served as prescribed by Idaho Code § 6-304. I.C. § 55-208. After service has occurred and the requisite time as expired, the landlord can then reenter the premises, or if need be, can proceed with an eviction to recover possession of the premises from the tenant.

If you have questions about a “without cause” eviction, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Landlord and Tenant Law and Real Estate attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your Idaho Landlord and Tenant Law and Real Estate questions and will help you solve your Idaho Landlord and Tenant Law and Real Estate needs.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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