There is much more to owning a rental unit than handing the tenant the keys. Most municipalities require the licensing and inspection of rental units. Failure to have your property inspected can lead to fines and the invalidation of the rental agreement.
Leases should always be in writing. Iowa law has very specific requirements (and prohibitions) that differ from other states. A generic lease from another jurisdiction is very likely to violate Iowa law.
Screening tenants can be a challenge. Background checks, criminal history reports, and credit checks are all useful, but you must use extreme caution to apply your screening consistently and fairly in a way that doesn’t violate anti-discrimination laws.
The attorneys at Abendroth Russell Barnett Law Firm can help you craft a tenant application process and customize your leases so they meet all of the legal requirements.