By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The House Business Committee on Monday introduced a bill further limiting local government’s ability to control fees and deposits on rental units.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, amends Idaho Code to include fees and deposits. Under current law, the code prohibits local governments from “controlling the amount of rent charged for leasing private residential property.”
Palmer told the committee “current statute doesn’t have anything about fees and deposits” being capped by local governmental entities.
Some cities, including Boise, have already put a cap on application fees and Palmer’s bill would override those local ordinances. Boise’s ordinance was an effort by the city to assist low-income people in applying for housing.
A similar bill was introduced in 2021, but never moved forward to the House.
A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report released in 2021 found that just half of the state’s rental units are “affordable,” meaning 30% of a person’s monthly income, among Idaho residents.
There are more than 41,000 renter households that are housing cost-burdened, according to the report.
The timing of the bill comes as Democratic leadership stressed last week the importance of looking at Idaho’s housing crisis.
The bill will have a full hearing before the committee at a later date, accepting testimony.