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In the State of Idaho, is it considered wear & tear after 3 years? Or is the tenant...

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In the State of Idaho, is it considered wear & tear after 3 years? Or is the tenant reasonable to pay for damages?

My parents rented a house for 4 years, the land lord is suing them for damages to the carpet. In the state of Idaho is it considered wear & tear after 3 years or is tenant reasonable to pay for damages?

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Under Idaho law, a landlord may not use the security deposit to pay for ordinary wear and tear resulting from a tenant’s normal living activities. It seems likely that the same standard would be applied in a civil case.

The State of Idaho's Landlord and Tenant Guidelines provides examples of ordinary wear and tear versus damage (pp. 14-15):

  • Ordinary wear and tear (landlord’s responsibility): faded carpet, moderate dirt or spotting on carpet
  •  Damage and excessive filth (tenant’s responsibility): cigarette burns in carpet, pet damage

In your parent’s case, the issue will not be the length of the rental but rather the actual extent of damage to the carpeting.  If there's no evidence of specific, unusual damage, your parents can make a strong argument that three years of normal use should not cause excessive damage to average-quality carpeting.

This case illustrates a good practice for landlords and tenants: Always take photos (or have the landlord/tenant sign a description of property conditions) on move-in day and move-out day to protect yourself in case a legal conflict arises.

Disclaimer: This post contains general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. Each reader should consult a lawyer if you want a qualified professional’s assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.


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