Allowable charges

Receiving a security deposit is a great safeguard to anything negative that can happen during the tenancy. However, during the hustle and bustle of having a tenant, it can be easy to overlook the regulations that are required of the security deposit. Fortunately, there is no legal limit to the amount of the security deposit. During the tenancy, it can be charged to any of the following:

  • Damage to the premises, any of the buildings, common areas, parking areas, furniture, fixtures, carpet, or appliances;
  • Abandonment of the premises;
  • Non payment of rent;
  • Late charges; and
  • Attorney’s fees.

The security deposit, however, cannot be applied to the last month’s rent, any other charges not listed above, or ordinary wear and tear. In addition, Idaho Code § 6-321 gives a definition to ordinary wear and tear:

Normal wear and tear means that deterioration which occurs based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended and without negligence, carelessness, accident, or misuse or abuse of the premises or contents by the tenant or members of his household, or their invitees or guests.

Returning the security deposit

When returning a security deposit and prior to move-out, your tenant should give you a forwarding address. Within 30 days after the end of the lease agreement, you, the landlord, need to refund the security deposit using either one of two options:

  1. Return the full deposit. This option signifies your acceptance that there was no damage to the premises or charges to which the security deposit could have been applied.
  2. Return partial deposit with statement of charges. This options signifies that you applied portions of the security deposit to rectify any damage to the premises or charges. In addition to the refunded deposit, you need to provide a signed statement itemizing the amounts lawfully retained by you, the purpose for the amounts retained, and a detailed list of expenditures made from the deposit.