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Marc
Marc, Attorney at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 334
Experience:  Experienced Attorney
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I have a tenant's rights question in Iowa, Iowa, no, no

Customer Question

I have a tenant's rights question in Iowa
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Iowa
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
We have been renting with a property management company for about 4 years. The notified us that we cannot renew our lease in August 2017. Can we move out early because of a non renew?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Is a non renewal notice grounds to break a lease? The reason given for non renewal was the property is going to be sold.
Expert:  Marc replied 8 months ago.
Hello. My name is***** a licensed attorney and I will be happy to answer your question.I'm afraid that under the strict terms of your lease (assuming it contains no provision to the contrary), you cannot terminate your tenancy early on this basis. The fact of the matter is that they could have waited until June or even July to give you such notice, leaving you very little time to seek a new residence. In your case, it was considerate to give you so much notice (many less considerate landlords don't inform their tenants of their plans to sell their property until the last possible moment).So, technically, if you were to vacate in June, for example, your landlord could hold you liable for rent for the remaining months. The management would most likely keep any security deposit you have on account, for starters. And they could sue for any remaining balance.However, if your management is truly considerate, I believe they would consider consenting to an early termination. At worst, they might let you out of the lease early, but charge you a month rent as fair compensation. I would suggest, therefore, communicating directly with management to explain your desire. Simply inform them that, due to this unexpected turn of events over which you had no control (I.e., the sale of the property), you must scramble to seek and secure a new residence and that it will be easier for you to do so in May, for example, rather than August. Accordingly, you request that you be allowed to terminate your lease at that time.Again - there's no legal reason to compel them to let you out sooner. But, especially when selling a properly, landlords are often eager to accommodate such requests - especially from loyal tenants in good standing.I hope my answer has given you a better understanding of your issues and options. If so, please be sure to rate my answer, since that is the only way I can receive credit.Meanwhile, I wish you luck with your current landlord and your search for a new home!Kind regards,
Marc
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
First of all no one would BUY this property it is a dump with MOLD. What if they do NOT even put it on the market to sell the property and are lying about it and move other tenants in, put it on Craig's list or their website? Can we sue THEM
Expert:  Marc replied 8 months ago.
Sorry about that. As I was composing my answer, somehow I got it into my head that they were not renewing because they planned to sell. In any event, I'm afraid the conclusion stands. It is the landlord's option to renew or not. Furthermore, the landlord doesn't have to have or give a reason and can exercise the option to not renew for any reason. That is the landlord's right guaranteed by the lease.Since you mention that the place is such a dump, though, that could be grounds for you to leave early or take other action. It sounds like the place is barely habitable. And mold is a very serious condition that courts take seriously. Therefore, your landlord may be in breach of the implied warranty of habitability. This applies even if there is nothing in the lease mentioning habitability. In other words, in Iowa, you are guaranteed a minimum standard of habitability by law.So, what does this mean? You can demand that your landlord clean the place up - throughly (as mold requires) within 10 days. If he fails to do so, you can then begin to withhold a reasonable portion of your rent until the condition is improved. Alternatively, you can terminate your tenancy legally. The fact is, if the home isn't habitable, the landlord has breached the lease, and you are therefore no longer bound by it.So if you want to exit early, I would suggest this approach. Non renewal alone is not a basis for ending your tenancy early. But, the fact that the place is a dump sure is. Again - you said the magic word: mold. Courts generally presume neglect when there's evidence of any mold. Therefore, your landlord would be on the defensive if you went to court. Keep in mind, though, that you may well avoid court. If you assert your rights, the landlord will have little choice but to concede.I hope the better explains the issues and options in light of the additional info you provided. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Marc