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Davis Brown Construction Law Blog

Iowa Legislative Update for Construction and Landlord Industries - February 21, 2020

The first “funnel” is now over for the 2020 legislative session. This means if a House bill did not advance out of a full House committee, or a Senate bill did not advance out of a full Senate committee, by the first funnel date, the bill dies. The Davis Brown Government Relations Team provides a good overview of the funnel process.

Here is where we are after the first funnel for some of the more significant bills affecting the landlord-tenant and construction industries.


Landlord-Tenant Legislation

2020 Manufactured Housing Community Legislation: HF 2351 and SF 2238 - NOT ADVANCING: This 27-page bill, as summarized in my prior blog and which would have negatively impacted landlords of manufactured housing communities, did not make it through the first funnel and are considered dead. Specifically, SF 2238 was not scheduled for any subcommittee or committee, and HF 2351 passed through subcommittee but did not advance through to a full House committee. This is great news for the industry and is the result of the hard work and efforts of the various members of the industry and the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association.

2019 Manufactured Housing Community Legislation: HF 638 - STILL ALIVE: This bill is still alive from the 2019 session. This bill had originally started as a pro-landlord bill but was amended in the final days of the 2019 legislative session with major pro-tenant amendments applicable to the manufactured housing community industry, including the below two provisions. This bill is still alive and could be placed on the House debate calendar in the future. If that happens, a further update will be provided.

  • A 180-day mandatory notice period prior to rent increase; and
  • Removal of the 60-day no cause non-renewal provision and providing that only good cause terminations of tenancies by landlords are allowed.

Possession of Firearms in Leased Premises: SF 2245 - NOT ADVANCING: This bill, for an act relating to the possession and storage, of firearms by a tenant of a dwelling unit or mobile home space and making penalties applicable, did not make it through and is considered dead.

Source of Income Prohibition: HSB 690 and SSB 3178 - ADVANCING: This bill is beneficial to landlords as it would prohibit cities/counties from implementing Source of Income ordinances, such as the ordinances already in place in Iowa City and Des Moines. This bill made it through first funnel and is advancing. 

New Federal Guidance on Assistance Animals - HUD memo: On January 28, 2020, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a new memorandum providing further guidance on assistance animals-Notice FHEO-2020-01. Among other things, this memorandum contains a description of best practices for landlords when assessing a person’s request to have an assistance animal, as well as guidance on documenting a tenant’s need for an assistance animal in housing.

In the future, you will receive a detailed overview of this memorandum, but in short, the new guidance is generally what practitioners would have expected to hear from HUD. Though, there are a few specific topics in the memorandum that HUD has now directly discussed that were murky. For example, HUD specifically prohibits landlords from requiring medical professionals to notarize their letter/doctor’s note under penalty of perjury. More details to come.

Construction Industry Legislation

Homestead Sales/Mechanics Liens (Pro-Contractor Bill) SF458 - ADVANCING: This pro-industry bill, as summarized in my prior blog, provides that a contractor’s entire mechanic’s lien, including all principal, interest, attorney fees, and costs, applies to a homestead such that the homestead may be sold to satisfy the entire mechanic’s lien. This bill would supersede the recent Supreme Court decision providing that attorney’s fees are not recoverable as part of a mechanic’s lien against a homestead, as described in my prior blog from earlier this year. This pro-industry bill did make it through the first funnel. Further updates will be provided.

Alternative Project Delivery: HSB 674 and SSB 3153 - ADVANCING:  This bill would allow for use of a Construction Manager at-Risk (CMaR) for all public owners with the exception of the Iowa Department of Transportation. This would be a significant change for public projects.

Radon Systems in All New Homes: HSB590 -  NOT ADVANCING: This bill would have required the installation of an active radon system in all new homes, it did not make it through the funnel and is considered dead.

Professional Licensing Qualifications: HF 2470 and SSB 3122 - ADVANCING: This bill is a part of the Governor’s Future Ready Iowa program and aims to attract a skilled workforce to Iowa by allowing workers with licenses from other states to work in Iowa without being required to go through Iowa’s licensing process. This bill made it through the first funnel and will advance.

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