Bill Description: House Bill 158 would define and prohibit "unfair service agreements" between homeowners and businesses.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
House Bill 158 would create Chapter 20, Title 48, Idaho Code, titled the "Prohibition of Unfair Service Agreements Act" to define and prohibit "unfair service agreements" between service providers and homeowners.
This bill would define an unfair service agreement as a contract where "any part of the agreement provides an exclusive right to a service provider for a term in excess of one (1) year after the time it is entered into and has any of the following characteristics:
The service agreement purports to run with the land or to be binding on future owners of interests in the real property;
The service agreement allows for assignment of the right to provide service without notice to and consent of the owner of residential real property; or
The service agreement is recorded or purports to create a lien, encumbrance, or other real property security interest."
The bill also says that "a county recorder may refuse to record an unfair service agreement and shall incur no liability for refusing to do so."
Another provision says that an unfair service agreement is "unenforceable, shall not create a contractual obligation or relationship, and attempting to enforce the same is a violation of the Idaho consumer protection act. …"
Some provisions of this act may protect legitimate property rights, such as prohibiting a service agreement signed by one person to be "binding on future owners of interests in the real property." A contract between a service provider and a homeowner should not carry over to a new property owner without explicit consent.
Other provisions of this chapter are overly broad, such as prohibiting a contract that "allows for assignment of the right to provide service without notice to and consent of the owner of residential real property." This would prohibit a homeowner from signing a long-term contract for ongoing lawn maintenance, pest control, or other periodic services rendered without reestablishing explicit consent at least every year.
There is no reason why a one-year contract of this type would be fair while a two-year contract would be unfair.
It may be appropriate to clarify that a contract cannot obligate someone who did not sign it, but limiting the scope and terms of voluntary contracts between consenting individuals violates a fundamental right.
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