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Know your landlord rights when a tenant intentionally damages your rental property

Chapter 716 makes it clear that “Intentional Damage to Rental Property” is a crime. We have a law that says tenants should be able to be charged. We have been working with our local enforcement agencies to ensure police officers will write up a citation when a Landlord makes the claim. Having charges filed gives you a better ability to win a civil suit for damages. Prosecutors may not prosecute unless a charge is filed, and as our members will attest, frequently, police officers are not willing to cite the resident. Failure to do so makes the police officer both judge and jury, which is not their job. Inform your onsite police officers who are not willing to cite about this law that you demand charges be filed when you have clear evidence of criminal mischief.
Here is a link to the full law:
Here is excerpt from law:
         Any damage, defacing, alteration, or destruction of property is
      criminal mischief when done intentionally by one who has no right to
      so act.
         Whenever criminal mischief is committed upon more than one item of
      property at approximately the same location or time period, so that
      all of these acts of mischief can be attributed to a single scheme,
      plan or conspiracy, such acts shall be considered as a single act of
      criminal mischief.
716.3  CRIMINAL MISCHIEF IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
         Criminal mischief is criminal mischief in the first degree if the
      cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the property so damaged,
      defaced, altered, or destroyed is more than ten thousand dollars, or
      if such acts are intended to or do in fact cause a substantial
      interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by a
      gas, electric, steam or waterworks corporation, telephone or
      telegraph corporation, common carrier, or a public utility operated
      by a municipality.  Criminal mischief in the first degree is a class
      “C” felony.
         Criminal mischief is criminal mischief in the second degree if the
      cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the property so damaged,
      defaced, altered, or destroyed exceeds one thousand dollars but does
      not exceed ten thousand dollars.  Criminal mischief in the second
      degree is a class “D” felony.
         92 Acts, ch 1060, § 9
         Referred to in § 717A.3
         1.  Criminal mischief is criminal mischief in the third degree if
      any of the following apply:
         a.  The cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the
      property that is damaged, defaced, altered, or destroyed exceeds five
      hundred dollars, but does not exceed one thousand dollars.
         b.  The property is a deed, will, commercial paper or any
      civil or criminal process or other instrument having legal effect.
         c.  The act consists of rendering substantially less effective
      than before any light, signal, obstruction, barricade, or guard which
      has been placed or erected for the purpose of enclosing any unsafe or
      dangerous place or of alerting persons to an unsafe or dangerous
      condition.
         d.  The person intentionally disinters human remains from a
      burial site without lawful authority.
         e.  The person intentionally disinters human remains that have
      state and national significance from an historical or scientific
      standpoint for the inspiration and benefit of the United States
      without the permission of the state archaeologist.
         2.  Criminal mischief in the third degree is an aggravated
      misdemeanor.
      DEGREES.
         1.  Criminal mischief is criminal mischief in the fourth degree if
      the cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the property so
      damaged, defaced, altered, or destroyed exceeds two hundred dollars,
      but does not exceed five hundred dollars.  Criminal mischief in the
      fourth degree is a serious misdemeanor.
         2.  All criminal mischief which is not criminal mischief in the
      first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree is
      criminal mischief in the fifth degree.  Criminal mischief in the
      fifth degree is a simple misdemeanor.

Sheryl Jahnel, Realtor®
Iowa Realty
385 Collins Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402
(319) 360-9333 Mobile
(319) 393-4911 Fax
Licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of Iowa
E-mail: [email protected]
website: www.sheryljahnel.com

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