The state of Iowa has implemented laws and regulations concerning the relationship between landlords and tenants. These laws and regulations help direct landlords to provide fair and legal leasing provisions as well as provide a guide as to what responsibilities they have when leasing residential units to tenants. These laws include leasing agreements, security deposits, repairs, utilities and safety procedures.
According to Section 562A.9, the landlord may provide certain terms and conditions as well as rights of the individual tenants within the lease agreement. The lease agreement shall contain specifics such as the amount of the security deposit owed to the landlord, the amount of rent to be paid each month (or week) depending on the length of the lease, what utilities will be provided to the tenant and other conditions such as rules concerning pets. The agreement will also state the responsibilities of the tenant such as keeping the unit clean and sanitary. If there is no written lease agreement, the tenant is responsible for paying the fair rental value of the unit.
Iowa law restricts landlords from charging tenants more than twice the month’s rent for the security deposit. The landlord is in charge of holding the security deposit in a separate bank account with a bank that is insured by the federal government. The landlord will have 30 days after the end of the lease to return all or part of the security deposit back to the tenant. If any portion of the security deposit is deducted, the landlord must provide a detailed account for each dollar spent toward the unit, such as cleaning or necessary repairs that were made after the tenant vacated the unit.
Iowa law Section 562A.17 forces tenants to undertake certain responsibilities when leasing a residential unit. For instance, the tenant must comply with the health and safety codes of the building. The tenant must also keep the unit clean and sanitary, report any damage that needs to be repaired, and keep from damaging or destroying—either intentionally or negligently—any part of the unit in his possession.
The tenant is required to pay the rental amount due on the date stated in the lease agreement. If the tenant fails to pay rent at the time the rent is due or three days after receiving a written notice of late payment by the landlord, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease agreement and evict the tenant from the premises. The landlord can sue for damages caused by the tenant’s failure to pay rent and possibly recover attorney’s fees. However, if the tenant proves that he has made reasonable efforts within a certain amount of time to remedy the error, he may not owe the landlord for any damages.
Iowa law prohibits landlords from interrupting the use of utilities for any reason. The landlord is restricted from failing to provide necessary utilities such as water, gas, electric or heat. If the landlord does interrupt the use of any essential utilities, he may then give the landlord written notice stating that there is a breach according to the lease agreement. The tenant may recover in court certain damages from lack of utilities if he has given notice to the landlord of the interruption. The tenant can either recover a monetary amount based on the decrease of the fair rental value or the days already paid for when the utilities were unavailable.