Iowa Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Iowa Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Last Updated: April 24, 2023

Iowa legally requires landlords to meet certain “habitability” requirements for all rental properties. This means that they’re responsible for providing a property that meets specific health and safety standards and for fixing issues that violate them.

Iowa Implied Warranty of Habitability

In Iowa, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain a safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.

Examples of clear habitability violations include:

  • Exposed electrical wiring.
  • A pipe leaking human waste.
  • A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.

However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like stained carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities in Iowa

Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements.

Item Has To Provide? Has To Fix / Replace?
Air Conditioning / Heating Only Heating Only Heating
Hot Water Yes Yes
Kitchen Appliances No Only If Provided
Washer & Dryer No Only If Provided
Smoke/CO Detectors Yes Yes
Window Coverings No No
Light Fixtures No Only If Provided
Landscaping No No
Garbage Removal Yes Yes
Garbage Pickup Yes Yes
Mold N/A Yes
Pest Control No N/A
Pest Infestations N/A Yes
Water Leaks N/A Sometimes
Clogs N/A Sometimes

Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in Iowa

Iowa landlords do have a responsibility to provide heating for rental properties. They don’t have to provide air conditioning, but they do have to maintain an air conditioner that’s supplied with the property.

Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in Iowa?

Iowa landlords don’t have to replace things like air filters, unless heating equipment won’t work otherwise.

Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in Iowa

Iowa landlords must keep plumbing in good working condition.

Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in Iowa?

Iowa landlords must provide and maintain running heated water for rental properties.

Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in Iowa?

Iowa landlords have to fix clogs the renter didn’t cause, which keep the plumbing from being in good working condition.

Are Landlords in Iowa Responsible for Fixing Leaks?

Iowa landlords have to fix leaks the tenant didn’t cause, which keep the plumbing from being in good working condition.

Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in Iowa

Iowa landlords don’t have to provide kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator. If the landlord provides any of these, however, the landlord has to maintain them as well.

Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in Iowa

Iowa landlords are responsible for maintaining electrical service and features on rental property.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in Iowa?

Iowa landlords are not responsible for providing light bulbs or particular light fixtures. However, for appliances and fixtures with light bulbs that the landlord provided, it’s the landlord’s job to keep them in good order.

Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in Iowa

Iowa landlords must provide and maintain outside garbage containers and garbage removal services.

Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in Iowa

Iowa landlords have no specific obligation to provide landscaping or maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they interfere with the cleanliness of common areas, violate local codes, or create a hazard to health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in Iowa

Iowa landlords are responsible for most mold issues. While there’s no state requirement for testing, landlords must investigate and fix mold problems since they threaten health and safety. The renter may be liable for the cost of fixing an issue that’s due to lack of personal cleanliness.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in Iowa

Iowa landlords must fix pest issues the renter didn’t cause, including rats, roaches, mice, bed bugs, and ants. There’s no requirement to regularly test for infestations.

Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in Iowa

Iowa landlords have no specific responsibility to provide or maintain specific types of windows and window screens, except what’s required for basic safety and habitability (like repairing broken windows).

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in Iowa

Iowa landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining smoke alarms and required carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in Iowa?

Iowa landlords are responsible for keeping safety devices operable, which includes battery replacement. The landlord has to restore safety devices to working order within thirty days of getting a written notification that there’s an issue.

Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in Iowa

Iowa landlords are not required to furnish their rental properties with a working washer and dryer. However, if they are provided, the landlord is responsible for fixing them if they stop working properly.

Renter’s Rights for Repairs in Iowa

Renters in Iowa have the right to repairs for issues that affect health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. To exercise their right, the renter must start by notifying the landlord of the issue in writing. The landlord gets seven days after notice to fix the issue.

If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter can end the rental agreement, repair and deduct themselves, or ask a court to order repairs or compensation. However, renters are not allowed to unilaterally withhold rent.

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