108 Iowa L. Rev. 409 (2022)
In Iowa, thirty percent of all households rent rather than own. At the termination of a rental agreement, or after abandonment is established, Iowa’s current case law gives landlords the power to enter the leased premises and take possession of any remaining personal property without notice to the tenant. In Iowa, residential, commercial, and crop leases are governed by inconsistently applied and antiquated precedent. This Note argues that Iowa’s common law rules governing the possession and disposal of a tenant’s abandoned personal property by their landlord insufficiently protect the rights of tenants. This Note also examines the landlord-tenant relationship through an economic lens, surveying how other states have treated the acquisition and disposal of abandoned tenant personal property. This Note then identifies how Iowa’s common law approach to abandoned tenant personal property unduly burdens tenants and favors landlords. To eliminate the burden on tenants, this Note then proposes statutory reform that balances the interests of tenants, to their personal property, and landlords, to the ability to re-rent their property.