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A Quick Guide to Effective Tenant Screening

Jan 3, 2023 | 0 comments

Are you a landlord in Idaho wanting to make sure your property is safe using and only taking the best tenants using the most effective tenant screening process?  Screening tenants is a confusing and necessary process. 

The state of Idaho has specific laws regarding tenant screening which must be followed in order to be fair and ethical. In order to help with the process, our team at Embark PM has put together everything you need to know in this brief guide.

The Benefits of Tenant Screening

Tenant screening provides landlords with an essential tool in finding the right tenant to occupy their rental property. It helps assess potential tenants’ credit scores, references, criminal backgrounds, and job histories. 

By conducting a thorough tenant screening process, landlords can maximize their ability to select responsible, trustworthy and long term tenants. Tenants like this will pay rent on time, respect the lease terms, and take care of the property. 

Understanding Landlord-Tenant Laws in Idaho

Idaho has specific laws governing the rental relationship between landlords and tenants. Both parties must understand their respective rights and responsibilities covered under state law. Landlords should be aware of specific requirements related to security deposits, discrimination, and evictions. 

Security Deposit Regulations

In Idaho, landlords can collect a security deposit up to the equivalent of two months’ rent. Landlords must provide tenants with written notice within 14 days of receiving their security deposits, including details about where the deposits are being held. 

a roll of paper money

Landlords must also provide tenants with an itemized list of deductions from the security deposit and any remaining amount must be given back to the tenant within 30 days after moving-out.

Discrimination Prohibition

It is illegal for landlords in Idaho to discriminate against potential tenants due to race, color, religion, disability, familial status, national origin, or age. This includes refusing to rent to an individual based on these protected classes. Landlords must also provide reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. 

Eviction Rules and Procedures

In Idaho, a landlord must provide written notice if they wish to terminate a tenancy. This includes giving tenants three days to pay past due rent or 30 days if they are evicted for another reason. 

If the tenant fails to comply with either of these notices, the landlord may proceed with court proceedings to evict the tenant. Landlords must understand the eviction process in Idaho and abide by all applicable laws.  

Conducting Tenant Screening in Idaho

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to conduct tenant screening in Idaho.

Establishing Reasonable Criteria

As a landlord, it is essential to establish reasonable criteria for your tenants. This helps ensure that you are not discriminating against potential tenants based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, or national origin. You should also consider any local regulations that may apply to tenant screening.

Obtaining Rental Applications 

Once you have established your criteria, the next step is to obtain rental applications from potential tenants. The application should include income, employment history, and references.

a person handing documents to someone else

Along with the application, obtaining a credit report from each applicant is a good idea. This will give you an overview of the tenant’s financial history and help you make a more informed decision about whether or not to accept them as a tenant.

Verifying Applications

Once you have obtained an application and credit report, it is essential to verify the information provided. This can be done by contacting the applicant’s employer and references and obtaining proof of income (such as pay stubs or bank statements).

Making a Final Decision

When all the necessary information is gathered, it is time to decide whether to accept or reject the tenant. It is important to remember to treat all applicants fairly and objectively when making a decision. Additionally, it is crucial to keep detailed records of the tenant screening process in case any issues arise in the future.

Ensuring Fair Practices

Landlords must adhere to fair tenant screening practices when accepting applications for tenancy. They need to ensure that their screening process is consistent and follows the law in Idaho. The landlord must provide the applicant with a written description of what information will be collected, such as credit history, criminal record, and income verification. 

someone writing in a notebook with a pen

Landlords must explain why they are asking for such information and how it will be used in the tenant screening process. They should also ensure that all applicants receive fair treatment regardless of race, gender, or other protected classifications.

Keeping Records

Landlords need to keep accurate records of their tenant screening practices. They should document the process for each applicant, including the criteria used to evaluate them and any notes made. 

This helps protect landlords from liability if there are accusations of discrimination or other violations of tenant rights in Idaho. Additionally, having detailed records can help landlords identify patterns or trends related to their tenant selection decisions.

In addition to keeping records of the tenant screening process, landlords should also document their compliance with Idaho laws. This includes documents related to advertising vacancies and collecting applications from potential tenants. 

Landlords should also record any communication with applicants or former tenants regarding the rental unit. Doing so will help landlords stay informed about their obligations under Idaho law and ensure they meet the legal requirements of renting a dwelling.

Professional Assistance for Landlords in Idaho

Landlords can easily find professional assistance if they need help understanding their tenant screening responsibilities. Various resources, such as landlord associations and legal clinics, can provide guidance on the laws applicable to rental properties in Idaho. 

two people having a professional discussion

Additionally, many state and local governments offer support services, such as landlord-tenant mediation or educational seminars, to help landlords understand their responsibilities.


Tenant screening is an essential part of being a landlord in Idaho. The experts at Embark PM know the ins and outs of tenant screening and can help! Contact us today for more information outlined in this post.

Following these guidelines will help landlords protect themselves legally and make the best decisions for their rental properties.



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