Tenant Law in Iowa
The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Marion, 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 Marion, IA
The most important and most obvious 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 accountable for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in Marion, IA
Much like landlords have a right to get paid for the service they provide, tenants have a right to get what they pay for: a suitable place to live. In Marion, Iowa, all residential rental agreements carry an "implied warranty of habitability." This means that a landlord implicitly guarantees that any residence he or she rents will be fit for human habitation. In general, an unit will be automatically deemed uninhabitable if it lacks running water, electricity, heat, and adequate protection from the elements. There are several more factors that can be considered, as well, but those are some of the basics.
Additionally, tenants are entitled to common areas that are reasonable safe and sanitary. The common areas of an apartment building would include lobbies, laundry rooms, stairwells, hallways, and fire escapes (basically, any part of the building which all of the tenants can access). In Marion, Iowa, these areas must be kept reasonably clean and safe.
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. Additionally, 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. However, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
Finally, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords typically 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 Marion, Iowa Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants normally prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for obvious reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Marion, Iowa landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.