Monthly Meetings

The Pottawattamie County Landlord Association meets the 2nd Thursday of every month, except in June and July. We now meet at Key Realty, 501 South Main Street in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Upcoming Educational Speakers

Due to restrictions, the December meeting has been cancelled.  Have a great Holiday season!

Dec - James Justin - Fire Chief
Jan 2021 - David Overholten - Accountant
Feb 2021 - Leases and Applications
Mar 2021 - Evictions

Future meetings for the Pottawatomie County Landlord Association will again be at Key Realty, 501 South Main Street.  You can park in the back and enter there.  The meeting is downstairs.

Because we are meeting indoors, masks are strongly encouraged.
The Board meeting will start at 5:30 P.M.  Dinner will start at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting at 7:00 p.m. as usual and end about 8:30 p.m.

Membership dues are $125 for 2021, payable by December 31, 2020. Our business meeting and program will begin at 7:00 pm and finish by 8:30 p.m.  Come at 6:30 for supper (No charge-included in membership dues).

New Member and Membership Renewal form Membership

NOTE:  A new legal lease is available from the Iowa Landlord Association for paid members

Note:  The Landlords of Iowa (Iowa State Organization) is postponing the State Convention 1 year until October 14th and 15th of 2021.  Protecting the health and safety of the attendees, exhibitors, and volunteers is our top priority.

From: Paul Pate
Dear Business Filer,
Welcome to the first newsletter in our Cybersecurity Awareness Month series. Protecting Iowa's elections and businesses with proven cybersecurity controls is a top priority for my office. Below are some useful ways to help you keep your business cybersecure. I hope they will be a valuable resource to you.
Sincerely,
Paul D. Pate
Iowa Secretary of State

5 TIPS & TRICKS FOR STAYING CYBER SECURE AT WORK

In 2019, the U.S. business sector had a 17% increase in data breaches. Those cybercriminals rely on human error to gain access to systems -- such as employees failing to install software patches, or clicking on malicious links.
1. TREAT BUSINESS INFORMATION AS PERSONAL INFORMATION.
Many consider trade secrets and company credit accounts as proprietary data, however, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) that is taken from tax forms and payroll accounts. DO NOT share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
2. DON'T MAKE PASSWORDS EASY TO GUESS.
Security measures only work if used correctly by employees. All Smart technology (smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, etc.) run on data, increasing their chances of a data breach. Take proper security precautions to ensure and correct configuration to Smart technology in order to prevent data breaches.
3. BE UP TO DATE.
Turn on automatic updates for your security software for the latest versions available, and for your security software to run regular scans, so you don't have to worry about it.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA IS PART OF THE FRAUD TOOLSET.
Simply by scanning your organization's social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about your organization's human resources and financial departments. Employees should avoid conducting official business, exhanging payment, or sharing PII on social media platforms.
5. IT ONLY TAKES ONE TIME.
Data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unsual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious emails. We hope these tips and tricks help secure your business from cyber threats, and help you to plan for the future. For more information about how you can Do Your Part to #BeCyberSmart, visit www.cisa.gov/ncsam

Office of the Iowa Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Memo on Coronavirus and Landlord Tenant Law

The above memo stresses that we need to be consistant in how we handle requests from tenants for a rental deferment.  It is recommended that all deferments (which includes partial payments since you are allowing the tenant to defer part of the rent) should be handled in writing.  To make this as easy as possible Dianne Willenborg has put together a form.  The form is available below. It was made in word format so that you can replace the blue sections with your information.

Rent Deferment Agreement Landlord Association Sample

Rent Deferment Agreement Landlord Association Sample- .pdf version

For Tenants:  Information on financial resources available to you during the Corona virus crisis. These resources will assist with income replacement and other assistance stemming from Corona virus hardships.

Financial Impact Resources
There may be additional benefits, possibly in the form of checks mailed directly to certain Americans, to be implemented by the U.S. Government in the future, and there are further resources available regarding how families can protect themselves from the financial impact of COVID-19.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
New benefits are available as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, effective April 2, which provides extended FMLA and paid leave benefits.
State Unemployment Benefits
Iowa has implemented an expanded unemployment benefits program, with loosened restrictions, for all qualifying individuals affected by COVID-19, with benefits provided for up to 26 weeks and with checks expected to be issued within 7-10 days after the claim has been filed.
Pottawattamie County General Assistance - 712-328-5867 United Way of the Midlands Inter-Faith Services

Nov 14 speaker: David Overholtzer, CPA, Office located in the Smith Davis Insurance building by Baylis Park. 

Mr. Overholtzer gave a very informative presentation on saving records and a new tax law.  We learned that a new law allows a 20% deduction of rental profits from your taxes.  Please read the documents listed below for more information and the steps you must take to qualify.  

IRS Section 199A Trade or Business Safe Harbor: Rental Real Estate
IRS: How long should I keep records?

Documents from March 2019 Meeting  (Come in March 2020 for updates)
Word Documents
NOTICE OF DELINQUENT RENT PAYMENT
How to Evict Someone
How to use Efile

PDF versions
NOTICE OF DELINQUENT RENT PAYMENT
How to Evict Someone
How to use Efile

Property Taxes

Property taxes are due in March and in September.
They are late the 1st of April and the 1st of October.

Useful Links

Iowa Courts Online (Court Proceedings)
Iowa Tax and Tags (to pay vehicle and property taxes online)
Pottawamttamie County Assessor (Assessment, Taxes, property owner)
Landlords of Iowa (State Landlord Association)
TenantData (Rental History and credit check)
City of Council Bluffs
Pottawattamie County
Council Bluffs Rentals (To list rentals and find rentals)
Zillow Rentals (To list rentals and find rentals)
    Council Bluffs Zillow Rentals (Rentals available in Council Bluffs)

Landlords Association 2019 State Convention
Conference Presentations from October 2019

The 2020 Convention has been cancelled

Fair Housing Presentation (PDF version, includes notes)

Legal Update and Avoiding Common Problems


Service Animals Update
The following is a letter from Landlords of Iowa, Inc. Executive director, Pete McRoberts. It contains a link to the new Iowa Civil Liberties Union form that landlords should use for tenants requesting a Emotional Support Animal or "comfort animal" or "companion animal". The new law and all the ins and outs will be discussed at the convention by Attorney Jodie McDougal who will cover a variety of legal issues facing landlords during her 90 minute presentation.

Hi all,

As we’ve discussed quite a bit, Landlords of Iowa has been working for several years to help prevent fraudulent designation of pets as emotional support animals. Assistance animals with this designation are not service animals, like a seeing eye dog. These are animals that are not trained to perform a specific service. Service animal fraud is rare and this is not the issue we are dealing with here.

Under federal law, people with disabilities that can be mitigated by an assistance animal are protected and allowed certain help. This means that if someone has a disability, and the presence of an animal can help them get through their daily routine, then that animal isn’t a pet and can’t be consider a pet for rental purposes. There are some exceptions to this rule but its’ a good rule of thumb.

This designation can be made by a Dr., social worker, nurse, etc., but also by 3rd parties who may be aware of a person’s condition. For years, this worked well, but the federal law hasn’t caught up with internet communications and sales. So, while even 10 years ago, the 3rd party was usually clergy, family member, etc., now there is a growing market for commercial sales of certificates, generally online. You take a survey, get “approved,” pay a fee, and then a .pdf of a letter, sometimes from a Dr., therapist etc. is emailed. This practice is legal. In some instances it could be justified for people who do not have access to a Dr. / clergy, etc. But these are largely get rich quick schemes by businesses whose model relies on turning pets into ESAs for the purposes of getting around a lease requirement. This really does hurt people with actual needs and it is terrible for housing providers.

The state of Iowa can’t outlaw the electronic certification, and for people who need it, we wouldn’t want to. We instead can make sure that proper records are kept and that there is uniformity in how certifications are made and recorded. In 2019, the Iowa Legislature did this. Landlords of Iowa spent countless hours over the past two years working through the part that is most relevant to you. We are ready to present that to you for your use, now that the law has taken effect.

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the Iowa Attorney General have released their general form and rules for ESAs. That form is now available on this website

You will also see a “Fact Sheet, Policy, & Guidelines.” Please take a look through all of these items very carefully. Together, all of this represents a real reform and is a good example of the government agencies and Landlords of Iowa seeing that we’re on the same page in cracking down on fraudulent vendors who are frankly putting at risk people with disabilities and using landlords to do so. While this is not a perfect solution, it is a good one - it means people who need help can get it, and people who sell fraudulent certificates in Iowa have a much worse business environment.

You will also note that there is a specific point of contact at the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Contact her when you need to. There is no reason to let a question go unanswered, and additionally, if you have a question, and you then have guidance from the ICRC, you are creating a record that you did the right thing and you followed the law.

This represents some significant reform in Iowa that you, as members of Landlords of Iowa, helped create. It isn’t the end of the story, and just because the law has changed, doesn’t mean there will be no more fraud. But we are making progress, and showing again that a successful housing profession in Iowa is good for everyone. You should be proud of your work here.

Pete McRoberts
Executive Director
Landlords of Iowa
Building Inspection Office

Yearly Rental Unit fees are $35 per unit and are due on or before Dec 31.  They are late on Jan 1.
The late fee for non-registration is $25.00 per dwelling unit. The penalty fee for non-registration of a rental unit (per unit) is $1,000 and institution of this fee will place the dwelling or dwelling unit on a one year inspection cycle for three years. Dwelling units that are found non-registered must pay registration fees: a single family dwelling fee is $200.00 per year for three (3) years, a two-family dwelling (duplex) is $400 per year for three (3) years and Multi-family dwellings are $200.00 and $50.00 per unit per year for three (3) years.

209 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
City Hall Office #207
Phone: 712-328-4980
Fax: 712-328-7007
buildinginspection@councilbluffs-ia.gov
http://www.councilbluffs-ia.gov

Call the Housing Inspectors at (712) 328-4980. Normal office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Inspector's Office Hours are 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Steve Carmichael Chief Building Official (712) 890-5277 scarmichael@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Kevin Hartman Electrical Inspector (712) 890-5280 khartman@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Shawn McKee Building Inspector (712) 890-5282 smckee@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Derick Richardson Building Inspector (712) 890-5281 drichardson@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Rodney Schultz Plumbing/Mechanical Inspector (712) 890-5286 rschultz@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Jamie Miller Permit Technician (rental housing) (712) 890-5283 jmiller@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Scott Boose Housing Inspector (712) 890-5279 sboose@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Cody Smith Housing Inspector (712) 890-5287 csmith@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Chris Williams Sanitation (712) 890-5289 cwilliams@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Alicia Myers Permit Technician (712) 890-5284 amyers@councilbluffs-ia.gov
Bart Nighswonger Housing Inspector (712) 890-5285 bnighswonger@councilbluffs-ia.gov

City Inspection Suggestions

Inspections are good for three years.
Call the city and schedule an inspection when the property is unoccupied.

Critical inspection items.

  • Carbon Monoxide detectors outside each bedroom (as of July 1, 2018)
  • Smoke detectors in each bedroom and on each house level
  • Smoke detectors work
  • At least one window opens for egress in each bedroom
  • No exposed electrical wiring
  • Railings on stairs
  • Working fan in bathroom or window that opens
  • Water not leaking under sinks
  • Minimum bedroom size - 70 square feet
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
  • Outdoor Faucets: Shut off valves to outdoor faucets. Open spigots and drain, store hoses.
  • Be sure downspouts are directing water at least 4 feet away from foundation.
  • Check vents, chimneys, and areas for bird nests, squirrels, and insects.
  • Check windows, door, corner boards, and joints for decay. Check for proper caulking, glazing, putty around windows, and weather stripping.
  • Thermostat: Clean heat sensor, contact points, and contacts. Check accuracy and replace thermostat if it is not functioning properly.
  • Roof: Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits. Repair if needed.
  • Gutters and Downspouts: Clean out. Inspect and repair weak points. Check for proper slope.
  • Chimney or Stovepipe: Clean flue (more frequently if needed). Repair any cracks in flue or any loose or crumbling mortar
  • Siding: Inspect and clean siding and repair if needed.
  • Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace any that is deteriorating.
  • Storm Windows and Doors: Replace any cracked or broken glass. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repair if needed. Replace damaged hardware. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
  • Window and Door Weather Stripping: Inspect and repair or replace if it is deterioratingor if it does not seal.
from Home Buyers Protection Company
Winter Warm-Up Tips

Change Your Sheets - Not only do flannel sheets feel great, but they'll keep you warmer throughout the winter season. Don't forget extra blankets if needed!

Turn Off the Bathroom Fan - Exhaust fans in bathrooms pull hot air to the ceiling and out of your home. Instead, while you shower, leave your bathroom door open or cracked. By doing so, you will let the warm, steamy air travel throughout your home.

Use Area Rugs - Area rugs do more than add a design element to your room. They can also serve as another layer of insulation to the floor, which, in turn, traps the cold air underneath and keeps it from seeping up into the room.

Open the Oven Door - Once you've finished cooking dinner or holiday baking, remember to leave the oven door open while it cools so the hot air will fill the room. You've already paid for the gas or electricity - you might as well use it.!

from Farm Bureau Financial Services

For errors or broken links, contact Dale Willenborg, DaleWillenborg@gmail.com