Needing help with eviction experience during COVID in Iowa

4 Replies

I have a tenant that is behind in Rent. She was always erratic on paying. Would get 1/2 a month behind then would give me 2 1/2 months rent plus the late fee. She is currently 2 1/2 months behind. I have been trying to get rent from her and now all the stories start. She claims she has a check that the bank is making her wait 14 days to clear. She asked if I could stop today and she would give me a copy of a letter from her bank. When I stopped she handed me a letter that was a COVID document for eviction moratorium From the State of Iowa. 
I called my lawyer he said he has been to court 3 times in 3 weeks and has lost all 3 cases. He even had proof that the tenant did not meet the requirements on the document. The judge wouldn't even listen to it. I'm guessing I'm probably out of luck, just wondering if anyone else has had this problem or success? My lawyer served a 30 day notice to terminate a lease and goes to court Friday for that. He is going to let me know how that one goes.
Before you start in about should have screened better etc. I did give her a chance she had a couple questionable items but no huge red flags. She has been with me 2 yr. no I’m not going broke over this just frustrating. We have 56 other tenants that are current. Some just work the system better than others. 

David Schlatter

Hey... I did a quick search of "eviction Iowa" and came across this article

https://www.iowalegalaid.org/r...

Basically in a nut shell it is stating that as long as the tenant gives you a signed declaration (which from your post it sounds like she may have done that) she cannot be removed from the house until after December 31, 2020. Regardless if she isn't paying rent. She is still required to pay rent or make partial payments but even still not allowed to be removed until after December 31, 2020.
Even if a judge would order her to be evicted it will not happen until the mortarium is over. My best guess is that you keep track of what is not paid etc and as soon as this ban is lifted get into court and get her evicted. Until then all landlords are screwed.

We've been told that as long as you're not evicting due to non-payment, you may have a shot. So you were correct in serving her the 30 day notice, and if she doesn't move out, then you can evict her based on that. But it comes down to the judge unfortunately. 

The 30 day notice should work provided the lease is a month to month term.  If you’re in the middle of a longer term lease then it probably will not avail. Does the tenant violate any other clause of the lease? If so, that may be the way to go... Extensive damages, subleasing to others, over occupancy, smoking inside the unit, etc...

Judges are real gun shy about the covid eviction moratorium and landlords should also be.  The financial penalties and potential jail time detailed by the CDC is extreme and is written vague enough that it could potentially effect judges as well as the landlords. 

Good luck; it's a bizarre time to be a landlord. At least you have the majority of your tenants paying.

Thank you for all the replies. She claims she will have it paid in 30 days. The apt is clean but she brings a lot of drama with her. So we will see what happens or be prepared for Jan 1. Thanks again David