Bill Description: House Bill 617 would impose a host of new regulations on property owners who seek renters.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?
House Bill 617 creates Chapter 36, Title 6, Idaho Code, to impose a host of new regulations on property owners who are seeking renters.
Specifically, the bill would prohibit property owners from charging or accepting a rental application fee from a rental applicant unless the property owner or property manager he employs "has a residential rental unit available and the rental application fee is applied toward such unit" and "discloses any criteria that the property owner or property manager will review as a condition of accepting the applicant as a tenant in the residential rental unit, including criteria related to the applicant's criminal history, credit score, income, employment or employment history, or rental history."
This is a significant limitation on the right of a property owner and a prospective renter to enter into a voluntary agreement.
House Bill 617 imposes additional regulations on property owners by requiring them not to "take multiple application fees for a rental unit unless the application fee is associated with a written backup offer in case an earlier applicant is denied or declines to accept an available residential rental unit, in which case the property owner or property manager may collect the application fee but may not process the fee unless or until an applicant is next in line; or the property owner or property manager anticipates that future vacancies will become available and the applicant has agreed in writing to be placed on a waiting list for anticipated vacancies and, in that instance, the property owner or property manager may collect the application fee but may not process the fee unless or until such applicant is next in line."
These regulations effectively prohibit a property owner from processing multiple rental applications simultaneously.
House Bill 617 imposes even more regulations on property owners, saying that the property owner or the owner’s manager "shall run only one (1) background check at a time for an available rental unit and must compare the applicant to the pre-disclosed rental criteria provided for in section 6-3601(1)(b), Idaho Code, and never to another applicant or renter."
This provision is particularly objectionable as it prevents a property owner from examining multiple rental applicants and selecting the one the owner believes is the best fit for the property in question.