COVID-19 & Renting
The moratorium on evictions that Governor Kim Reynolds put into place to stop evictions because of COVID-19 ended at 11:59 on May 27, 2020. Even though the moratorium is over, tenants may have defenses if their landlord violated the moratorium. The Governor’s moratorium was in place from March 20, 2020 through May 27, 2020.
There is still a moratorium on evictions for tenants who live in federally connected properties under the federal CARES Act.
Due to orders from the Iowa Supreme Court most eviction hearings will not happen until sometime between mid-June and mid-July at the earliest.
There have been several different policies, laws, and proclamations issued by the Governor of Iowa, the Iowa Supreme Court, and even the President and Congress that deal with the rights of tenants in rental housing. The issues can be complex and are changing all the time. Keep checking this website for updated information. If you are trying to understand how all of these policies affect you, this flowchart might come in handy.
If you need help with these issues, you may qualify for assistance from Iowa Legal Aid (see the end of this article). Here is a list of some of the most important things to remember:
I am worried about being evicted… what should I do?
Though Governor Reynolds’ moratorium on evictions has now ended most eviction hearings will not happen until at least June 15, 2020. In many cases, hearings may not be held until mid-July, because some courthouses may not be fully ready to open until then. If an eviction action is already on file, you should have received a notice from the court with information on the day and time for your hearing. You should continue to look for updates from the court. If you do not know when your hearing is, and have not received an order form the court, you can check the online filing system (EDMS) or call your county clerk’s office.
Even if you have a hearing date scheduled, your eviction may still be prohibited under the CARES Act, and/or you may have other defenses to eviction. Read more on the CARES Act moratorium on the Iowa Legal Aid COVID-19 Website.
- On March 20, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a proclamation postponing evictions except in cases where someone never had the legal right to live there or where a tenant created a clear and present danger. This moratorium was extended by proclamation on April 27, 2020 until 11:59 PM on May 27, 2020.
- The state moratorium expired on May 27, 2020. As of May 28, landlords can again terminate some tenants’ leases and file for evictions, even in the case of nonpayment of rent or breach of lease. However, some lease terminations and evictions are still barred under the federal CARES Act, at least for the next few months.
- Iowa landlord-tenant law provides that a lease is terminated only when the landlord gives a tenant a proper notice, and in the proper way. Governor Reynolds’ moratorium against evictions ends after May 27, 2020. However notices which were prohibited during the moratorium are not valid and cannot be used as a basis for an eviction even after the end of the moratorium.
- Tenants may have defenses if their landlord violated the moratorium by doing something that was prohibited during that time – such as trying to terminate a lease for nonpayment of rent or breach of lease.
- If you and your landlord came to some kind of alternate arrangement during the moratorium, even if an eviction was already on file, that alternate agreement may constitute a “waiver” of the right to evict you. Make sure you keep as much documentation about any agreements as you can.
- Evictions are still prohibited in properties that are federally connected under the CARES Act. Read more on the federal CARES Act moratorium on the Iowa Legal Aid COVID-19 Website.
For more information please refer to: Iowa Legal Aid COVID-19 Website