Landlords’ Guide to Rental Laws in Iowa

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Introduction

Investing in real estate in a new state comes with a new set of state laws and regulations. Following these regulations is crucial to your responsibility as a landlord. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important Iowa state laws for landlords.

Rent and Fees

Rent is due at the beginning of the month unless otherwise specified in your Iowa lease agreement. If you plan to increase the rent, you must tell tenants in writing at least 30 days before the increase is instated. Also, rent changes can only be instated after the expiration date of the original lease, renewal, or extension. 

Besides rent, landlords are allowed to collect fees for late rent, applications, and bounced checks. For late fees, Iowa allows landlords to charge $12 per day for rent that is less than $700 a month, and $20 per day if the rent is more than $700. Application fees are not regulated in Iowa, so that is up to the landlord’s discretion. Finally, for nonsufficient funds or bounced checks, the landlord can charge a one-time fee of $25. 

Tenants also have remedies and protections in Iowa in case the landlord’s negligence endangers their health or safety. If the landlord fails to provide essential services like hot water, electricity, or others, the tenant can deliver a written notice to the landlord. The notice should state what the noncompliance is and that their lease will end in seven days if the landlord does not remedy the violation. They can also recover damages, attorney fees, and receive injunctive relief. 

Required Disclosures

Across the nation, landlords must disclose pertinent information to their tenants about their new home. Each state has their own guidelines for required disclosures, and Iowa is no different. 

Landlords must disclose whether there are any lead-based paint hazards in your unit if it was built before 1978. Also, they must disclose the name and address of the person who is authorized to take action on behalf of the owner, or the person managing the property. 

In the lease agreement, the landlord must disclose utility rates, services, and charges to a prospective tenant prior to them signing the lease. This only applies if the tenant is not the one who is directly responsible for paying the utility company. 

Lastly, the EPA maintains a list called the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information system, and if the property being rented is on this list, the landlord must disclose this information to any potential tenants.

Security Deposits

Landlords in Iowa are required to keep security deposits in interest-bearing accounts must pay tenants on interest earned after five years of tenancy. Deposits have to be kept in a credit union, bank, or savings association that is insured by the federal government. They cannot be kept in the same account as personal funds. 

Additionally, security deposit amounts cannot be more than two months’ rent in Iowa and must be returned within 30 days after the lease’s termination. 

Landlords can deduct funds from the security deposit for damages beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent/bills, or for expenses that may have resulted from the tenant’s lease violations. If the landlord does deduct from the security deposit, they must provide a written statement detailing each deduction.

Evictions

In Iowa, when a tenant owes unpaid rent, the landlord can file for eviction three days after posting a rent demand notice if the tenant does not pay within that time frame.

How many lease violations before eviction? Tenants in Iowa have seven days to either cure their violation or leave the premises. If the same violation occurs for a second time within six months, the landlord does not have to extend the opportunity for the tenant to cure the violation and can send a seven-day notice to quit.

Landlord tenant laws in Iowa dictate that if the tenant has created a threat to other people on the property or to the property itself, the landlord can give the tenant three days to leave and does not have to allow them any opportunity to remedy the issue. 

Iowa eviction laws and eviction laws across the country can get complicated, so when in doubt, be sure to consult an attorney. Evicting a tenant should be done only as a last resort or when completely necessary.

Conclusion

If you would like to learn more information about Iowa state law, read up on the Iowa state law code or consult with an attorney. These regulations dictate your responsibilities as a landlord and ensure that you treat your tenants fairly, so be sure to follow them the best you can. 

  • Post published:September 18, 2023
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  • Post category:Tips

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