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The word "Iowa" comes from the American Indian tribe of the same name. Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase, a deal arranged between President Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte of France that brought a vast tract of the continent under the control of the United States.
How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Iowa
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Iowa has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Iowa Housing Codes on the Iowa State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Landlord -Tenant Law Changes - A bill which modifies the relationship between the landlord and tenant relationship has been passed through the legislative process and became effective July 1, 2013. Alterations to the code include increasing the amount of late payment fee/fine, and, if tenants trash a rental unit they may be charged with criminal mischief pursuant to chapter 716. Iowa Landlord Tenant Act update
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
Owner Or Agent Identity: Iowa landlords must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving notices and demands. (Iowa Code 562A.13)
Utilities: In Iowa, for shared utilities, landlord must fully explain utility rates, charges, and services to the prospective tenant before the rental agreement is signed. (Iowa Code 562A.13)
Contamination: In Iowa, the landlord or a person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on behalf of the landlord must disclose to each tenant in writing before the commencement of the tenancy, whether the property is listed in the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information system maintained by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. (Iowa Code 562A.13)
Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records - A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Iowa: IA Admin Office Of Courts, IA Admin Office Of Courts Misdemeanors, IA Department Of Corrections Inmate, IA Sex Offender Registry.