Tenant Law in Iowa

The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Shenandoah, 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 Shenandoah, 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 paid for damage to the building that a tenant causes, either intentionally or negligently. All damage caused by a tenant, besides reasonable wear and tear, can be billed, and the landlord can deduct from the tenant's security deposit to pay for repairs.

Tenant's Rights in Shenandoah, IA

Most essentially, tenants have a right to get what they're paying for: a dwelling fit for human habitation. To this end, landlords have to confirm that the units they rent meet Shenandoah, Iowa's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are normallyy not difficult to meet. They include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, a working phone line, heating, and protection from the elements.

In addition to habitable living spaces, tenants also have a right to reasonably safe common areas. Common areas contain lobbies, hallways, and stairwells - essentially anything that everyone living in an apartment complex has access to. These common areas must fulfill the building standards of Shenandoah, Iowa, and must not contain any unnecessary safety hazards.

Under the laws of Iowa, and the United States, discrimination in housing on the basis of race, religion, or gender is strictly prohibited. Additionally, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, landlords must not discriminate against renters on the basis of any physical disability. They also have to authorize the renter to make reasonable modifications to their apartment, to make it more accessible. Generally, landlords are only required to allow relatively minor and reversible modifications, and tenants cannot compel them to remodel the building, for example. Also, once the tenant leaves, the landlord can bill the tenant for the costs of restoring the apartment to its original condition.

Lastly, 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 Shenandoah, Iowa Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?

Landlords and tenants almost always prefer to prevent conflict. In a perfect world, tenants would pay rent on time, and landlords would always provide the services that they're being paid for. As we know, the world isn't perfect. When situations demonstrate the world's imperfection, a Shenandoah, Iowa real estate attorney can help, whether you're a landlord or a tenant.