From 0 units to 000s, we are here to help you succeed!

Networking leads to personal POWER in your RE investing business!

Our High Quality Training Programs Assure Members Receive Great Value!

 

Intentional Damage to Rental Property

Backgrounder – Applicable Law Regarding Intentional Damage

Iowa Code – Chapter 562.A.17 – TENANT TO MAINTAIN DWELLING UNIT

The tenant shall:

  • 17.6. Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove a part of the premises or knowingly permit a person to do so.

Iowa Code – Chapter 716 – DAMAGE AND TRESPASS TO PROPERTY 

  • 716. 1 Criminal Mischief – Defined
    • Any damage, defacing, alteration, or destruction of property is criminal mischief when done intentionally by one who has no right to so act.

The issue for Rental Property Owners (RPO’s) and Property Managers (PM’s) is this law is NOT being consistently enforced. There are several contributing factors for why Chapter 716 could, and should, be enforced, particularly as it would apply to “Intentional Damage to Rental Property”.  Unfortunately, many members have stated that this is not being done.

One factor is the criminal mischief law itself.  When damage can so easily exceed $1,000, county attorney’s may be reluctant to prosecute since they could be hesitant to pursue a resident, as a potential Felon, when they have a leasehold interest in the property.  A tenant/resident has legal rights.   Who is to say they couldn’t get mad one day and bust up the place, then turn around the next and fix it all back up again, at their expense.   

Our contention is, they should NOT have the right to bust up something they do NOT own!   They are only renting it — like it were a hotel room, or a rental car, and just because it’s for a longer term that does NOT give them the right to intentionally damage the premises.

Criminal Mischief

Summary – When damages are between $500 – $1000, criminal mischief is adjudicated as 3rd degree, Criminal Mischief, an “Aggravated Misdemeanor”.

When damage exceeds $1,000, this is considered Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree, a Class “D” Felony.

When damage exceeds $10,000, this is considered Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree,  a Class “C” Felony.

ILA | IaREIA – Current Policy on whether to pursue a Legislative Initiative (as of Jan 5, 2013).

We (Iowa Rental Property Associations) need to continue our research as to whether this issue is adequately addressed in Chapter 716 of the Iowa Code, or is it primarily an enforcement issue.   Perhaps county attorneys simply need more encouragement, even training, on why they need to enforce this law?  Or, is it just more training of law enforcement officers in specific counties or municipalities where enforcement has become lax?

If RPO’s are inadequately protected through Chapter 562A.17.6, we need to gather supporting documentation — photographs, case histories and evidence. If it’s not clear that a resident could be charged with a crime and the officer who is called to file a case refuses to do so, then only a civil penalty will be pursued by the RPO will the sole recourse being a civil penalty, which is usually quite difficult to collect.

We believe the offense is more serious than simply a civil matter, and either enforcement must be increased or 562A.17.6 needs to include stronger language with a reference to applicable law regarding Criminal Mischief.

Iowa Code 716DAMAGE AND TRESPASS TO PROPERTY- posted here for quick reference.

716.1 CRIMINAL MISCHIEF DEFINED. Any damage, defacing, alteration, or destruction of property is criminal mischief when done intentionally by one who has no right to so act.

716.2 MULTIPLE ACTS. 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.

716.4 CRIMINAL MISCHIEF IN THE SECOND DEGREE. 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.

716.5 CRIMINAL MISCHIEF IN THE THIRD DEGREE.
  • 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.