In this article, we discuss the legal obligations of a landlord in Iowa and what rights tenants and landlords have in Iowa.
Every renter fears the scenario of moving into a new dwelling only to have it fall into disarray because of an irresponsible landlord. Conversely, every landlord’s worst nightmare is a tenant who destroys the property, doesn’t pay the rent, and then refuses to leave the dwelling. While both scenarios are common, thankfully, there are laws in place to protect both parties.
The Federal Government and the State of Iowa have specific laws in place to govern the obligations of landlords in Iowa. Landlords who don’t adhere to these obligations are liable and subject to penalty under the law. While certain stipulations under landlord-tenant laws may vary from state to state, in Iowa the landlord obligations can be broken down into five categories.
Iowa landlords are required to disclose certain information to the tenant. This information can typically be found in the lease agreement. Some of the common items include:
Failure to disclose specific information will usually lead to a penalty for the landlord. However, statutes regarding failure to disclose vary widely and are somewhat dependent on what information the landlord failed to disclose. Tenants can lodge a complaint with their local government agency and the landlord may be fined, or have his landlord’s rental license revoked, but a failure to disclose typically will not be a legal reason that a tenant can break a lease.
Iowa tenants reserve the right to sue their landlords for failure to return a security deposit. The claim is capped at $5000 but usually will match the security deposit amount, plus attorney and court fees. For more information on Iowa Security Deposit Law check out Iowa Security Deposit Law Explained.
There are several laws regulating rent-related grievances in Iowa. Common issues cited include late fees, which can start at $12 per day or $60 per month and go up to $20 a day or $100 a month based on the rent price, the amount of notice required to give tenants before raising rent (30 days in Iowa), and how many days a tenant has to pay late rent before the landlord can legally begin the eviction process (3 days in Iowa).
Iowa tenants have the right to withhold rent due to a failure on the part of the landlord to repair or replace broken or faulty components of the property. There are a handful of actions the tenant can take if the landlord has ignored requests from the tenant to repair the property.
There are a number of laws surrounding lease termination and eviction rules in Iowa. In general, it is important to note that according to Iowa Code 526A.27 a tenant has 7 days to resolve the lease violation or move out before the landlord can evict them. A landlord’s access to a property is dependent on the reason that necessitates access to the property and tenant’s situation.
Because of the many stipulations surrounding this issue, it is best for landlords to check with their attorney if they need to access a property and are unsure of their legal right to do so. If the tenant feels their landlord has illegally accessed the property he or she should speak with an attorney or local authority right away.
O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in: