Helpful Tips for Landlords in Iowa
1) Don’t accept any rent or any performance by the tenant after you start the eviction process. Iowa Code § 562A.3.
a. Any partial performance precludes you from evicting the tenant, your remedy at that point is a money judgment.
b. Yes, things other than money can count (sexual favors) as partial performance under a lease.
2) Start the eviction process as soon as possible. Iowa Code § 648.18.
a. If the tenant goes 30 days without you attempting to evict them for not paying that month’s rent you have lost the ability to evict for that month, your remedy is to file for a money judgment.
3) Follow the Iowa Code exactly, failure to give the proper notices and service means that a judge will likely toss out your case. Then your remedy for that month is a money judgment.
a. A helpful instruction is provided by the court here: https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/court-forms/
4) Take Pictures and videos of the unit prior to move in and during the move-out inspection. Iowa Code § 562A.12(3)(b).
a. It is the landlord’s burden to prove damages to the unit after the tenant moves out. Your word alone that the stain on the carpet appeared while the tenant lived there without pictures of the carpet prior to move-in will not be persuasive to the court.
5) Itemize and be as specific as possible when deducting from the security deposit and get that information to the tenant within 30 days. Iowa Code § 562A.12(3)(a).
a. Failure to provide the required information to the tenant within 30 days of their move-out means you lose your rights to that deposit amount.
Every situation is unique and requires individualized attention from our attorneys. If you would like to speak with an attorney regarding your landlord tenant disputes or about any other legal issue you are having, please call 515-868-0088 to set up an initial consultation with us.
-Kyle A. von Johnson, Esq.