Bill introduced to prohibit local government from capping rental fees

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.


<strong>Ruth Brown</strong> | Producer
Ruth Brown | Producer

Ruth Brown grew up in South Dakota and her first job out of college was covering the South Dakota Legislature. She’s since moved on to Idaho lawmakers. Brown spent 10 years working in print journalism, including newspapers such as the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press, where she’s covered everything from the correctional system to health care issues. She joined Idaho Reports in 2021 and looks forward to telling stories about how state policy can impact the lives of regular Idahoans.

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