Landlord Risk Management Issues

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Generally, owners and occupiers of land or residential premises in Idaho will be under a duty of ordinary care under the circumstances towards invitees who come upon their leased premises.  Essentially this means that the tenant is required to keep a place safe for all who come upon the property. However, this doesn’t eliminate the requirements of the landlord or owner of the property to also keep the place safe. Some additional areas of risk and risk management that come up within the landlord tenant relations include the following, as illustrated by the applicable case or statutes:


Terms of a written lease for a specified time cannot be changed during the term of the lease unless there is consent by both parties. Such changes should be made in writing. In a month-to-month tenancy the landlord may change the terms of a lease agreement by giving the tenant notice at least fifteen (15) days prior to the end of the period and fifteen (15) days before the changes are to become effective. According to applicable Idaho law, this notice must be in writing. I.C. § 55-307(1).


An eviction or ouster that does not comply with the statutory requirements is a wrongful eviction, which terminates the lease and for which a landlord may be subject to both actual and special or consequential damages. See Galindo v. Hibbard, 106 Idaho 302 (Ct. App. 1984); Bergkamp v. Carrico, 108 Idaho 476 (Ct. App. 1985).


A municipality may have an ordinance that requires a landlord to obtain a certificate of occupancy before the landlord can rent a unit. The certificate of occupancy, issued by the municipality, ensures that apartments meet code standards before they are rented. Failure by a landlord to obtain a valid certificate of occupancy may be used to show that the apartment conditions are poor in violation of one of the sections of Idaho Code § 6-320.


A landlord’s claim for eviction of a tenant may be defeated by a showing by the tenant that the primary motive for the eviction is retaliation against the tenant for reporting to authorities violations of housing or safety codes, or for bringing enforcement actions. Wright v. Brady, 126 Idaho 671 (Ct. App. 1995).

If you are a landlord or a tenant and you have questions about your lease agreement, or rental relationship, 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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