Tenant Law in Iowa
The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Iowa City, Iowa can occasionally be a touchy one. Landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and obligations.
Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are controlled by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.
Landlord's Rights in Iowa City, IA
The most important and most noticeable 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 Iowa City, 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 present. Landlords in Iowa City, Iowa are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are numerous factors that are considered in deciding 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).
Furthermore, 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 Iowa City, Iowa, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and Iowa law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Furthermore, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. Nonetheless, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
And lastly, most state laws prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants. If the lease agreement is for a set period of time, the landlord generally can't evict the tenant until the lease expires, without a good reason. Valid causes for eviction include unpaid rent, illegal activities on the property, damage to the building caused by the tenant, and excessive noise.
Can a Iowa City, Iowa Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, chances are that you want to prevent conflict. But if you do end up in a seemingly irresolvable conflict with the other party, an Iowa City, Iowa attorney can help you protect your rights.