Foreclosure Act FAQs

When does the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act become effective?

The Act became effective on May 20, 2009, and remains in effect until December 31, 2014.

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What government agency enforces the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act?

The Act is “self–executing,” so no government agency (such as the Attorney General’s Office or HUD) is responsible for enforcing the Act. Housing advocates should help educate tenants, landlords and the community about these new tenant rights.

Can the person who buys the home that I am renting make me leave immediately?

No. The new owner must give you a 90–day notice to leave. If you have a lease, you can remain in the home until the lease ends as long as the new owner does not intend to live in the home as his or her residence. If the new owner wants to live in the home, the owner only has to give you a 90–day notice to leave.

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What do I do if the new owner tells me to leave in less than 90 days?

You should send a letter via certified mail to the new owner informing the owner about the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter for your records and save your return receipt.

Do I have to continue paying rent?

Yes. If you fail to pay rent the new owner can begin eviction proceedings.

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What if I have a one–year lease that has more than 90 days left?

Generally, you can remain in the home until the lease ends. However, if the new owner wants to occupy the home as his or her primary residence, the new owner only has to give you 90 days to vacate.

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I am a month–to–month tenant without a written lease. Does the new owner have to give me 90 days to vacate?

Yes. As long as you pay rent to the new owner, you have 90 days to vacate the property.

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My written lease ends in 30 days. Do I still have 90 days to vacate?

Yes. If your lease term ends before 90 days following the foreclosure, then you have the full 90 days to vacate.

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My landlord notified me of the foreclosure before it occurred, and I vacated the property before the end of my lease agreement. Am I entitled to damages under the Act because I had to vacate early and did not receive proper notice?

Your landlord may have breached your lease agreement under contract law, but he or she did not violate the Act because your landlord is not a successor in interest.

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What do I do if the new owner sues to evict me?

File an answer with the court stating that the new owner failed to give you proper notice under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. Attend all court proceedings and take all documents, including your letter to the new owner, with you to court.

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What if I live in Section 8 housing?

You have the same rights as other tenants, as well as the right to the continuation of your Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract. In addition, foreclosure is not a lawful reason to terminate your lease.

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The landlord never refunded my deposit. How do I get my money back?

Idaho law provides a relatively simple procedure for a tenant to follow to obtain a deposit from a landlord who fails to return the tenant’s deposit or provide an itemized list of deductions within 21 days after the lease ends.

Step 1: Write a letter to the landlord. Send written notice by certified mail to the landlord demanding return of the deposit. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter.

Step 2: Wait for a reply from the landlord. The landlord has three business days from the date the letter is received to return the deposit.

Step 3: Sue the landlord. If the landlord fails to return the deposit, the tenant can file a complaint in small claims court.

Step 4: Go to trial. The parties will receive notification of the date, time and place for the trial. The judge will ask the parties to explain their positions and present their evidence. The tenant should provide a copy of all communication with the landlord, photographs and/or videotapes, and bring witnesses who accompanied the tenant during the final inspection. If the tenant wins, the judge may award the tenant three times the security deposit, plus court costs and attorney fees.

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Who do I contact if I have questions about the law?

You can contact a private attorney, your local legal aid office, a housing counselor or, if you are a Section 8 tenant, your Section 8 worker. To speak with an attorney, contact the Idaho State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Program at (208) 334–4500, or visit their website at

To locate your nearest legal aid office or find additional information about legal aid’s programs, contact the Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc. at (208) 345–0106, or visit their website at

Housing counselors are available to assist you with a variety of housing–related issues. To locate a counselor in your area, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's website at

I need an attorney to advise me about my rights and options. Can the Attorney General help me?

No. The Attorney General’s Office cannot act as a private attorney for you. Our office acts on behalf of all the people of Idaho.

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I see that the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division offers informal dispute resolution. Can I file a complaint against the new owner who is trying to evict me?

Yes. In addition to his enforcement duties under the law, the Attorney General offers an informal dispute resolution process to Idaho residents who file complaints with the Attorney General. If you file a complaint and request dispute resolution, we will forward your complaint to the new owner for a response. We will copy you on our correspondence and any response we receive. Complaint forms are available here or by calling (208) 334–2424 or toll–free in Idaho (888) 432–4535.

When deciding whether to file a complaint with us, please keep the following important factors in mind:

  • We cannot provide immediate action on your behalf. Our dispute resolution process is voluntary and can take up to 60 days. If you are facing immediate eviction and you need legal assistance, please contact a private attorney.
  • We do not enforce the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. That means we cannot force a new owner to answer your complaint, comply with the Act or allow you to remain in a home.
  • We cannot recover any restitution or damages for you. In addition to the fact that we do not enforce the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, the Act does not include a penalty provision.

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Where can I go to get information about other landlord–tenant laws in Idaho?

The Attorney General publishes the Landlord Tenant Guidelines, which is available here or by calling (208) 334–2424 or toll–free in Idaho (888) 432–4535.












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