As a tenant in a rental property in Iowa, your rights are protected under the state's landlord-tenant laws. These laws impose restrictions and duties on both the tenant and the landlord. The Iowa landlord-tenant laws can be difficult to understand, and you should contact an attorney if you need legal advice about your Iowa tenant issues.
Iowa does not require written leases for rental agreements that are for a period of less than one year, according to the Iowa State Bar Association. However, a written lease is always preferable to an oral lease as both the landlord and the tenant can clearly define their relationship through the lease's terms. When a written lease is used, it should include such terms as the length of the rental period, the amount of rent due, when that amount is due, the security deposit required and the names and contact information for both parties.
Iowa landlords can require renters to provide a security deposit, but those deposits can be no more than the amount of two month's rent, according to the Iowa State Bar Association. Landlords must keep the deposit in a separate bank account and return it within 30 days of the last day of tenancy. If the landlord uses the security deposit or any part of it to pay for delinquent rent or property damage, he must submit a written statement that explains the reasons for withholding the deposit.
Both landlords and tenants have duties with which they must comply. The landlord has a duty to provide a habitable environment to the renter. This means that the landlord must make any repairs to the property that affect the ability of the renter to live in it safely. The landlord must also ensure proper garbage pickup and ensure proper temperature control is possible. The tenant must keep the property in a clean and sanitary condition and pay rent in a timely manner.
The tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of the rental property. This means that the tenant has the right to live in the property without being unduly interrupted by the landlord. A landlord must provide at least 24 hours prior notice before entering the property unless both the landlord and the renter agree otherwise. Tenants must allow the landlord access if proper warning has been given or if there is an emergency.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.