This is in Iowa.
We recently completed tenancy at a property and are trying to get our full deposit back, as we left the premises in much better shape than we received them.
The lease was a home brew document, complete with two prohibited clauses (specifically, tenant pays landlord's legal cost in any dispute and landlord has arbitrary right to end the lease at any time, the former expressly prohibited by Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act 562A.11).
The lease states that our pet deposit in nonrefundable, however, the landlord stated specifically prior to signing that the pet deposit was fully refundable. We didn't read the lease carefully, which was a huge mistake that will not be repeated.
My argument is based on believing that the entire lease is invalid due to the prohibited clauses and the absence of a severability clause, therefore we are due our full deposit less any valid claims by the landlord.
The lease clearly contains prohibited provisions. My question is if it is enough to invalidate the entire agreement? Or will the court choose to sever the prohibited provisions and enforce the remainder of the agreement?
In addressing unconscionability, the IURLTA states that the court may refuse to enforce an agreement, enforce the non-unconscionable parts of an agreement, or limit the application of an unconscionable provision. Would the court be likely to find the prohibited provisions unconscionable?