If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself in a relationship where you feel that it’s just not working out like you hoped. Most of us at that point have the dreaded, but necessary, “it’s not you, it’s me” or “let’s be friends” conversation with the other person and try to move on. However, when the other person is your landlord the break-up might not be so easy.

First you need to determine whether your landlord is keeping its part of the bargain. According to Iowa Code § 562A.15 a residential landlord’s duty is to maintain a fit premises. This means the landlord must:

·        comply with applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

·        keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition,

·        keep common areas clean and safe;

·        maintain the electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances;

·        provide garbage receptacles; and

·        supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water

Second, if your landlord fails to comply with the requirements of the statute materially affecting health and safety you may be able to terminate the lease provided you deliver written notice to the landlord

·        Specifying the areas of non-compliance.

·        Stating the landlord has at least 7 days from the receipt of the notice to remedy the problems.

To ensure the landlord received your letter request a return receipt from the post office. If the landlord fails to remedy the problem by the date specified in the notice you may then terminate the lease or “break-up” with your landlord. The landlord is obligated to return all prepaid rent and the recoverable security deposit.