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House Bill 730 — Rental app fees, unfair collection

House Bill 730 — Rental app fees, unfair collection

by
Parrish Miller
March 4, 2022
Parrish Miller
March 4, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 730 would impose new regulations on property owners who are seeking renters. 

Rating: -3

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 would create Section 48-603G, Idaho Code, to impose new regulations on property owners who are seeking renters.

The bill makes it unlawful for "the owner of real property or his management company to make undue profit off individuals applying to lease residential housing."

Of course, there can be no such thing as "undue profit" in a voluntary transaction taking place in a market environment. 

Specifically, House Bill 617 would ban a property owner or his agent from "profiting by more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) from an applicant after deducting all reasonable expenses directly incurred for screening said applicant to determine the applicant's suitability as a residential tenant."

(-1)

Additionally, House Bill 617 would ban a property owner or his agent from "collecting and retaining an application fee when no rental property is available for lease, or reasonably expected to become available within ninety (90) days, unless the applicant acknowledges in writing that no rental property is available and consents to be added to a waiting list for housing anticipated to become available in the future."

Another provision bans "collecting and retaining an application fee when there is no intention to consider the applicant for tenancy."

The bill also says that "in the event that the real property owner or his management company has yet to screen the applicant, failing to return an application fee within forty-eight (48) hours after a written request from an applicant" is prohibited.

Finally, the bill prohibits "retaining an application fee from an individual who was never screened for tenancy."

(-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

The regulations imposed on property owners by this bill are enforced through the state's consumer protection act, which carries penalties of up to $5,000 per violation plus actual damages and "reasonable expenses, investigative costs and attorney's fees incurred by the attorney general."

These are outrageous penalties for the supposed offense of making an "undue profit" in a voluntary business transaction. 

(-1)

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