Tenant Law in Iowa
The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Independence, Iowa can sometimes be a touchy one. Landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and responsibilities.
Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are governed by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.
Landlord's Rights in Independence, IA
The most important and most discernible right that a landlord has is the right to timely payment of rent from the tenant. This, of course, means that the tenant has a duty to pay rent.
Landlords also have a right to be free from damage to the rented unit. Tenants are expected not to damage their dwellings, intentionally or negligently. Landlords can deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit. In general, tenants are not liable for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in Independence, IA
The most basic right of a tenant is the right to a living space that's fit for human habitation. This is, after all, what they're paying the landlord to provide. Landlords in Independence, Iowa are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are many factors that are considered in determining if an unit is habitable or not, but, generally, an unit will not be deemed habitable if it lacks any of the following: running water, electricity, heat, and protection from the elements (such as proper insulation, and windows that close).
Additionally, tenants have rights to common areas that are free of physical obstructions, as well as serious health and safety hazards. Common areas are the places in apartment buildings and other residential complexes which every tenant can access, and include hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes. In Independence, Iowa, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of Iowa to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can also not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
Finally, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords generally must have a very good reason to evict a tenant before the lease agreement reaches the end of its term (at this point, they are of course allowed to decline to renew the lease). Of course, if the tenant breaches the lease agreement (such as by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or violating other reasonable rules the landlord has put in the lease), the landlord, like a party to any other contract, is free to terminate the agreement and evict the breaching tenant.
Can a Independence, Iowa Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants usually prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for discernible reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Independence, Iowa landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.