Landlord-Tenant Issues

Landlord-Tenant Relationship

The Law on Landlord- Tenant is varied based on whether the property being rented is residential or commercial, and where the land is located. We are involved in both residential and commercial land use, including giving legal advise as to the  lease of the land or building or house or condo or other property. We are involved in preparation of all documents related to landlord- Tenant relationships and the enforcement of the landlord or tenant obligations, and the protection of our clients rights.

Landlord and Tenant Law in Iowa

The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Iowa can occasionally be a complicated at times. Both the landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and obligations. Landlords and tenants have to navigate a web of legal rights and commitments. It's essential that the parties to a landlord/tenant relationship know what obligations they have to one another.

Landlord's Rights Iowa

Landlords are entitled to collect rent from their tenants and have a security deposit for property misuse by the tenant. If a tenant fails to pay the agreed-upon rent, the landlord is normally able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated. Landlords may bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't responsible for usual wear and tear, over which they have little control.

Tenant's Rights in Iowa

Most essentially, tenants have a right to get what they're paying for: a dwelling fit for human habitation. To this end, landlords have to confirm that the units they rent meet Iowa's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are usually not difficult to meet. They include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, a working phone line, heating, and protection from the elements. In addition, tenants are entitled to common areas which are reasonably safe and clean, and free of physical obstacles. Areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes must comply with the building codes of the locality where the property is located in Iowa. Any other unreasonable safety hazard, even if it doesn't violate a specific provision of a building code, can create liability for the landlord if it injures a tenant.

Under the laws of Iowa, and the United States, discrimination in housing on the basis of race, religion, or gender is strictly prohibited. Moreover, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, landlords must not discriminate against renters on the basis of any physical disability. They also have to permit the renter to make reasonable modifications to their apartment, to make it more accessible. Generally, landlords are only required to allow relatively minor and reversible modifications, and tenants cannot compel them to remodel the building, for example. Also, once the tenant leaves, the landlord can bill the tenant for the costs of restoring the apartment to its original condition.

The laws of Iowa, like most states safeguard tenants from unfair eviction. In general, as long as a tenant is paying rent on time, and is not damaging the unit, they cannot be evicted before the term of the lease expires, unless there is a very good reason to do so (such as excessive noise caused by the tenant, or illegal activities in the apartment).

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