Changes proposed in Iowa’s landlord-tenant law
Changes proposed in Iowa’s landlord-tenant law
The Grand Staircase at the Iowa Capitol (RI file photo)

DES MOINES — Legislators are considering changes in Iowa’s landlord-tenant law.

Landlords are currently required to notify renters three business days before eviction proceedings begin. A bill that’s cleared initial review in the House and Senate would let holidays and weekends be counted if those days fall in the three-day notice period. Lisa Davis-Cook, a lobbyist for the Iowa Association for Justice, said that’s a concern.

“Someone could go out of town for a long weekend and all of a sudden they get home and here’s this notice and they’re being evicted,” Davis-Cook said, “and they haven’t had the time to react to the notice and respond.”

Keith Denner owns rental properties in Polk and Dallas Counties. He said the bill provides clarity as well as liability protection to landlords. Denner said there have been inconsistent rulings on that notice period from Iowa magistrates who oversee evictions, plus some rulings have declared sections of rental agreements illegal. The bill says landlords could not be sued if the illegal sections of a lease were never enforced.

“All we’re saying is if there’s something that turns out to be illegal there isn’t an adverse consequence to us, unless we try to enforce it,” Denner said during a House subcommittee hearing on the bill.


Representative Keenan Judge, a Democrat from Waukee, said the bill has major flaws. “This is completely one-sided and out of balance and needs to be corrected,” Judge said.

Representative Phil Thompson, a Republican from Boone, said the legislature needs to ensure eviction proceedings are consistent throughout the state.

“We need some uniformity here and we need to clearly define some of this,” Thompson said.

The bill is likely to be considered in the House Ways and Means Committee next week

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