August Brings New Opportunities and Potential Challenges for Iowa Landlords

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Opportunity from the State of Iowa

On August 4, the Iowa Finance Authority announced that more Iowans will be eligible to receive assistance with their rent and mortgage payments through the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program. I reviewed the program’s benefits and eligibility in an earlier post. As noted, the program is welcome news for tenants and landlords because, for tenants who are approved under the program, the state issues payments directly to the landlord.

IFA is expanding the program’s eligibility criteria to allow Iowans who had been receiving $600 a week in federal unemployment stimulus benefits to apply for assistance through the program. More information can be found in the announcement.

Landlords are encouraged to direct renters struggling to pay rent to the Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program website for more details and to apply.

Potential Challenges from the Federal Level

Rumors from Capitol Hill abound with news of personal stimulus checks, changing support for schools, and funding for food programs, but of most relevance to landlords is the morass that is discussions about the federal moratorium on evictions. As I reviewed earlier, the federal moratorium expired on July 25, allowing landlords in covered properties* to begin proceedings for possession against nonpaying tenants.

*Remember, the federal moratorium only covers certain properties

 Amidst the negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on the Hill, President Trump has vowed to renew the moratorium by Executive order if Congress can’t reach a deal.

What does it mean for landlords? 

As of today’s writing, there is no federal (or state) eviction moratorium in place. However, there is still the additional 30-day notice to vacate required for landlords of covered properties, so landlords wanting to commence nonpayment eviction actions have to wait out this 30-day period, and it’s anyone’s guess as to if the federal eviction moratorium will be renewed.

If by Executive order or congressional action, the moratorium is renewed, we will communicate how it impacts landlords. The precise wording of the order or bill will determine what actions landlords can or should take.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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