Tenant rights during auction and eviction notices - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tenant rights during auction and eviction notices

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Dozens of families in Dubuque have just thirty days to vacate their apartments. Property owner Kenneth Moore, has been cited for several city code violations. Tenants, DeLisa Fisher, Nicole Lammers, and Carissa Daniel all rent apartments from Moore. Their buildings up for auction on June 7th. All tenants have been instructed to make all rent payments directly to the bank, a bank that could obtain the buildings in a foreclosure in the coming weeks.

"They're steadily trying to get my to pay rent for the month of April and I refuse to pay rent because of the problems and they don't want to fix it," Nicole Lammers said.

"And I've had the agreement with him since I moved here," DeLisa Fisher said.

"I've paid it one time by the 5th every month," Carissa Daniel said.

"In a situation where maybe the housing is substandard, there's repairs not being made or the landlord is not paying their utility bills or something like that. The tenant does have options but none of them are a quick remedy," Iowa Legal Aid Attorney Carrie O'Connor said.

Both Lammers and Fisher have received 30 day notices for late rent payment fees, despite terrible living conditions. Iowa Legal Aid says eviction notices must be delivered in person or via certified mail. Then followed up by serving a Forcible Entry Notice. That is obtained from a Clerk of Court, which sets a court date for the landlord and tenant. In some circumstances a tenant can give a landlord a written 7 day notice and vacate the property if living conditions don't improve.

"Tenants can still do everything right and still be at the mercy of their landlords, if their landlord does not live up to their responsibilities," O'Connor said.

O'Connor recommends all tenants keep paying rent on time, despite conditions and keep records of everything. Most importantly, she recommends you contact an attorney because every situation is different.

When all is said and done it takes anywhere from two to three weeks for an eviction to legally happen. It has to be granted by a judge in court. Also it's not cheap for landlords to do. Add up court costs and fees and it can run up for $500 a tenant.

To remove the tenant, a sheriff has to be present to assure no personal property is left inside the rental. If the tenant can't get this done in 2 hours as required by code, the landlord must pay a crew to remove all property. The tenant has 24 hours to claim it before it must be removed.

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