Iowa Rental Lease Agreements
The Iowa Rental Lease Agreements are documents that provide legal basis for a landlord to lease a property to a tenant for a set period of time in exchange for equal monthly payments. Each agreement outlines a number of key matters, including, but not limited to:
- Term of the lease;
- Utility Responsibilities
- Due date of rent;
- Rent Amount ($);
- Names of the landlord and tenant; and
- Utilities and Services
Landlords and tenants should note that there are two distinct residential landlord-tenant laws set out by the state of Iowa. That is, one for dwelling units (as outlined here), and one for mobile home spaces.
What is an Iowa Lease Agreement?
An Iowa Lease Agreement is a legally-binding contract created with the intention of providing legal protections to both landlords and tenants. These protections are achieved by requiring both parties to uphold certain obligations relevant to the lease of a dwelling. Landlords have the opportunity to find an ideal tenant prior to entering an agreement by asking prospective tenants to complete a rental application.
State Definition (§ 562A.6(11) – “means an agreement written or oral, and a valid rule, adopted under section 562A.18, embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises.”
Types of Agreements
College Roommate Agreement – Although not legally-binding, this document helpfully lists rules of conduct and behavior that college roommates sharing the same premises agree to follow.
Commercial Lease Agreement – Outlines the rights and responsibilities of a landlord leasing a property to a commercial business as well as those of the business renting out the property.
Lease to Own Agreement – A particular type of rental agreement that includes provisions for a tenant to purchase a rental property from the landlord should they wish to do so during or at the completion of the rental period.
Month-to-Month Lease – Encompasses laws relevant to leases conducted on a month-to-month basis, as opposed to a long-term basis of a year or more.
Roommate Agreement – Unlike a college roommate agreement, this agreement also has some legally-binding provisions, such as the payment of rent and utilities.
Standard Residential Lease Agreement – This agreement is designed to reflect the state landlord-tenant laws of Iowa.
Sublease Agreement – If the landlord so permits it, a tenant can use this form to rent out part or all of the property they are leasing from the landlord to a third party.
When is Rent Due?
According to § 562A.9(3), rent is due at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable at the dwelling unit in equal monthly installments at the beginning of each month. For terms of one (1) month or less, periodic rent is payable at the beginning of the term. There is no state statute governing grace periods.
Emergency (§ 562A.19 A(2)): Landlord’s right to enter a rental property without notice in emergency situation is established by state law.
Non-Emergency (§ 562A.19 A): Unless it is impractical to do so, landlords must give tenants at least twenty-four (24) hours’ notice of the landlord’s intent to enter. Landlords may only enter at a “reasonable time,” which is generally interpreted to mean normal business hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Environmental Liability (§ 562A.13(6)) The landlord or person acting on their behalf must disclose in writing if the property is “listed in the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information system maintained by the federal environmental protection agency.” The disclosure must take place before the commencement of the tenancy.
- Lead Paint Disclosure: Landlords must disclose to tenants of any known lead paint hazards if the rented dwelling was built prior to 1978. Moreover, they must provide this pamphlet to tenants that discusses the matter.
- Names and Addresses (§ 562A.13): The names and addresses of the landlord or the party authorized to act on their behalf must be disclosed in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy.
- Utility Rates (§ 562A.13(4)): Before the rental agreement has been signed, landlords or the party authorized to act on their behalf must fully explain utility rates, charges, and services to prospective tenants. That is, unless the tenant pays for such services directly to the utility company.
Security Deposit Laws
Maximum (§ 562A.12(1)): The maximum deposit a landlord may demand is two months’ rent equivalent.
Returning to Tenant (§ 562A.12(3)(a)): Landlords must return the security deposit within thirty (30) days from the date the tenancy is terminated and the receipt of the tenant’s mailing address or delivery instruction. If the landlord will not return the deposit in full, they must furnish a written statement specifying the reasons for doing so, such as the nature of the damages caused to the property.