Lawsuits Filed to Protect Tenant Eviction Rights

June 9, 2020

The American Civil Liberties Union and Idaho Legal Aid Services filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Idaho to enforce tenants’ rights in eviction cases across the state.

According to the ACLU, tenants have a right to a jury trial in eviction proceedings under the Idaho Constitution.  However, the 1996 Idaho Legislature amended the law to strip tenants of those rights. The lawsuit asks the court to declare that those amendments cannot supersede tenants’ rights to a trial. 

ACLU and Idaho Legal Aid Services said the federal CARES Act prohibits landlords and property management companies from evicting tenants from many homes and apartments when federal assistance is involved in the property. They say the Idaho Attorney General’s Office issued a legal opinion last year supporting the right to a jury trial in eviction cases.

“The right to a jury trial has been guaranteed to all Idahoans since before statehood. Idaho Legal Aid helps tenants throughout the state who cannot afford a lawyer. Protecting the rights afforded by the Idaho Constitution through this new lawsuit benefits all Idahoans,” said Howard Belodoff, Associate Director of Idaho Legal Aid Services.

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