How Your Landlord Must Get Notices to You
As a Tenant, you may have received some kind of notice from your landlord at some point. Some notices are informal, just designed to give you information. Other notices are more serious and are legally required before your landlord can take steps like eviction. There are many different kinds of notices a landlord can give, all of which are discussed in other Iowa Legal Aid booklets and articles. This article will discuss HOW a landlord can deliver a notice to you.
Can I send emails or text messages to my landlord?
Yes, if you just need to get in touch with your landlord then text messages, calls, emails, and even "social networking" services like Facebook or Twitter are just fine. If you know your landlord uses Facebook often and you think the best way to reach the landlord is to send a message there, then go ahead and send the message. Sending electronic messages can be good because it usually keeps a copy of whatever you send.
What if I need to send an important notice to my landlord-should it be in a letter?
An important notice from you to your landlord like a "7-Day Notice" or a "30-Day Notice" does not need to be sent in a letter, but it is a good idea. The law does not require you to send a "hard copy" letter, but for important notices it is safer to send a printed letter and keep a copy for yourself. You should send the letter by regular and certified mail. If you have to go to court and show a notice you sent, it will be easier for you to hand the judge a copy of your letter than it is to try to print out a text message or Facebook wall post.
Can my landlord send me a notice electronically?
If your landlord sends you a general notice, then yes, it can probably be delivered electronically. The law says that a notice is good if the other party actually receives it. So, if you provide your landlord with an email address or connect with the landlord on a social networking website, then it's a good idea to watch for messages.
Can my landlord send me an eviction notice electronically?
No. There are additional requirements for your landlord if your landlord is trying to evict you. A notice like a "3-Day Notice of Nonpayment of Rent" or a "7-Day Notice to Cure" must be delivered to you in one of a few specific ways. Electronic delivery is not a legal option. If you do get a notice delivered electronically, it is still very important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
My old landlord posted on my "wall" that I owe money. Is that legal?
If anyone posts information about a debt where someone else can see it, then that person may be breaking debt collection laws. There are laws that prevent debt collectors from harassing debtors, and one of those laws says that the debt collector can't tell anyone else that you owe a debt. If your landlord puts information in public about a debt, you might have a case to bring against the landlord.
The attorneys at Iowa Legal Aid can help you understand your rights about notices. It is important to speak with an attorney about notices you receive, especially if you think your landlord is trying to evict you. If you cannot afford a lawyer and have a legal problem in Iowa, call 1-800-532-1275.