Farm tenure in Iowa: V. Some legal aspects of landlord-tenant relationships

Date
2017-08-24
Authors
Harris, Marshall
Cotton, Albert
Schickele, Rainer
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Abstract

The present Iowa laws pertaining to landlord-tenant relationships do not distinguish between urban and agricultural conditions, with only two exceptions: The agricultural landlord’s lien and the termination of indefinite agricultural leases. This lien applies to the total crop and to all personal property of the tenant, except to the property exempted from execution. In addition, leases usually contain a provision in which the tenant waives his exemption rights. In periods of excessive price decline or crop failure, and if production credit is sought by the tenant, the landlord’s lien may work serious hardship. As a possible corrective, placing of certain limitations on the landlord’s lien, and declaring invalid any waivers of exemption rights might be considered.

An Iowa statute provides that any lease with a fixed date of termination shall expire without notice and that only 1 month’s notice is necessary to terminate an indefinite tenancy. The old common law rule provided for a 6 months’ period of notice for termination of leases without a definite expiration date. It was changed by legislation in order to accommodate urban tenants and landlords. A statute requiring a 6 months’ notice for the termination of any farm lease would be better adapted to agricultural needs.

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