Generally, rent is due on the first business of the month, unless the lease terms specify otherwise. If failure to pay rent exceeds 5 days after rent is due, the landlord may charge a late fee. Iowa has a unique method in determining late fees: if the monthly rent is less than $700, then the late fee shall be $12 per day, capping at a maximum fee of $60 per month; if the monthly rent is more than $700, then the late fee shall be $20 per day, capping at a maximum fee of $100 per month. The second fee that Iowa allows with rent payment is an insufficient funds fee if rent or any other amount due is returned for lack of sufficient funds, a stop-payment, or for any other reason; there is no cap on this fee, but generally landlords estimate a reasonable fee for administrative purposes.
Utility payments in Iowa are really no different in general than any other state. Certain parties are responsible for predetermined utilities and must arrange for direct billing within 3 days. Where Iowa is different with many other states is the requirement for the landlord to fail to supply essential services such as running water, hot water, and heat, among other things. During any period in which the landlord fails to provide such services, the tenant should give notice specifying the breach and may do the following:
- Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat, and essential services during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance and deduct those actual and reasonable costs from the rent.
- Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the premises.
- Recover any rent already paid for the period of the landlord’s noncompliance which shall be reimbursed on a pro rata basis.