Comparing Idaho and California Tenant-Landlord Obligations: A Resource for Treasure Valley Property Managers

It’s no secret that many of those moving to the Boise area are coming from California. Per the most recent available statistics from the Idaho Department of Labor, Californians make up 47% of Idaho’s net in-migration. This means that of those moving in and out of Idaho, nearly half of those that stayed in 2016 came from California. With such high levels of shifting demographics, property managers and tenants alike should understand the differences in tenant-landlord ordinances across Idaho and California to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

Idaho and California have different laws in place protecting landlords and tenants from wrongdoing and establishing baseline responsibilities for both parties. In many ways, these ordinances are similar, while California has more specific requirements regarding eviction notices, retaliation, and discrimination.


Fundamentally, Idaho and California housing laws provide the same protections. Landlords must provide a safe, habitable space without discriminating, respond to maintenance requests, and serve eviction notices in a similar process. Tenants must pay rent on time, receive 24-hour’s notice of landlord entrance, and give landlords a 30-day notice prior to moving out. These laws give tenants and landlords both the necessary tools to establish a fair, protected business relationship.

Evictions in both states must be handled with at least a 3-day notice in the case of illegal activity or lease-breaking, or a 30-day notice in any other circumstance. California extends the length of notice to 60 days if the tenant has lived in the unit for over a year, or 90 days in the case of government subsidized housing.


Like the eviction processes, the differences in California tenant-landlord protections essentially come down to additional specifications. Rent control, for example, is available to ensure affordable housing in California cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, while Idaho currently has laws preventing rent control in any city.

California also has specific legislation preventing landlords from retaliating against tenants by evicting them or raising their rent after the tenant has made complaints of unsafe living conditions. While Idaho does not have precisely the same laws, landlords are still required to provide a safe living space, with the tenant able to withhold rent until the necessary repairs are completed.

Finally, California has some anti-discrimination legislation in place that Idaho does not. In both states, discrimination is illegal on the basis of sex, color, race, disability, nationality, religion, or familial status. California extends those protections specifically against discrimination towards a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and receipt of public assistance. Idaho has yet to add these words defining legal protections.

Though the laws establishing tenant-landlord relationships in Idaho and California share many key characteristics, both renters and mangers of rental properties should be aware of the differences to establish clear expectations and smoothly transition from one state to the other. Whether you are a new renter from California or a property manager looking to set up shop in the Boise area, it is important to know exactly where state laws differ.

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Whether you like it or not, Californians are moving to Idaho. The best any of us can do is be educated, aware, and kind. Being educated in the differences in state laws can go a long way towards establishing honest and transparent business relationships. Have you recently changed states? What surprised you about Idaho home rental or ownership that is different in California? Find on social media and share your stories of California-Idaho transitions and how you can make the best of that change as a renter or property manager. Thank you.