DES MOINES, Iowa — Following the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium on July 31, many Iowa renters are looking for help. The Iowa Finance Authority says resources are available to renters in need of financial assistance.
“The US Department of Treasury has launched an emergency rental assistance program. In Iowa, the statewide program is known as the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program. Our program serves 98 counties, with the exception of Polk County because they have a local program,” said Ashley Jared, the communications director for the Iowa Finance Authority. “We have $195 million that’s available to eligible renters throughout the other counties in the state.”
Jared says residents should visit its website, www.iowafinance.com, and fill out an application. Once the application is complete, Jared says renters will receive money in a timely matter if all documentation is accurate.
“It really depends on if the documentation is all accurate and all available for the case manager. So I would really encourage renters to take your time and review the documentation requirements that are on our website prior to submitting that application,” said Jared.
However, if a renter is facing immediate eviction, they should consider legal action and understand their rights.
“[Renters] cannot be removed from [their] home without a court order,” said Ericka Peterson, the assistant litigation director at Iowa Legal Aid. “If your landlord has turned off your electricity or changed the locks, those are emergencies that we at Legal Aid would consider as an emergency call. Also, the county sheriff knows that a court order is required, and often if your landlord is threatening to change your locks, the county sheriff will come out and make sure that the landlord does not do that without going through the proper process.”
While renters are getting help, the Iowa Landlord Association says the eviction moratorium has fractured relationships between landlords and renters.
“For those who were not communicating, the trust relationship is severely damaged, and they’re probably headed to an eviction court hearing,” said Andrew Lietzow, the executive director for the Iowa Landlord Association.