The past month has seen small but significant steps towards housing justice in Idaho. The “Fair Warning Act” was signed into law on March 24 by Idaho Governor Brad Little (R). The act requires a 30-day notice for all rent increases or intent to terminate an annual or month-to-month residential lease. The Fair Warning Act is the first tenant rights bill enacted by the Idaho State Legislature in many years and is viewed as an important sign of progress by housing advocates in the state.
Idaho’s Fair Warning Act (House Bill 594) was introduced by House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D) and Representative Jarom Wagoner (R) before passing both chambers of the state legislature with bipartisan support after negotiations that resulted in making the bill less strenuous on landlords.
The Idaho Asset Building Network’s (IABN) Housing Working Group participated in discussions around the development of the Fair Warning Act during its early stages and working group members played a pivotal role in securing bipartisan sponsorship. The group continued to advocate for the bill’s passage during the legislative session as members consistently showed support through testimony during committee hearings, sending letters of support to lawmakers, and mobilizing constituents.
With rapidly rising rents throughout Idaho, especially in the Boise metropolitan area, renters increasingly face exorbitant rent increases and little time to arrange a move to new housing. The Fair Warning Act is seen as a reasonable first step toward increasing housing stability for renters.
“We are excited by the passage of the Fair Warning Act,” said Kendra Knighten, who leads the IABN Housing Working Group. “The rental market is difficult for virtually every current and prospective renter in Idaho right now. Finding a home that is affordable and available is becoming more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive as applicants submit one rental application after another. Although more needs to be done to address the shortage of affordable homes, House Bill 594 will help families being priced out of their homes by giving them a better opportunity to land on their feet.”
Not long after passage of the act, the Idaho Supreme Court initiated a COVID-19 eviction moratorium that has been extended to the end of April. These successes and the growing momentum for more change stem largely from the emergence of the IABN Housing Working Group as a leading voice on housing policy matters at the state capitol.
For more information about the Fair Warning Act and efforts to advance tenants’ rights in Idaho, contact Kendra Knighten at [email protected]