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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    3

    Default Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Iowa

    My dau. is 1 of 4 girls renting an apt. in an offcampus student apt. complex. She is a grad. student and the only 1 of age. in the apt. One of the other girls (age 19) has put cans of beer in the refrigerator. It is illegal for a minor to be in possession of alcohol in Iowa. My dau. asked her to remove it. The girl refused to do so. My dau. then checked with management. They refused to do anything about it. Relationships have become very strained in the apt. Today, the 4 roommates met with the manager and asst. manager in a mediation. The management did not support my dau. in having the other one get rid of the beer. They asked, "What if she is holding it for some friends over 21?" According to Iowa law, that would also be illegal. Would my dau. be able to break the lease and move out since the management is supporting the breaking of the law?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    3

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    One very important addition. She did not choose her roommates. This apartment complex writes a lease for each individual renter and then they are either matched with others with similar interests or assigned roommates. She was assigned the 3 roommates as there was only 1 furnished apartment remaining with an opening at the time she signed the lease.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    supratentorial region
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    818

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    Sometimes those off campus, university "sanctioned" complexes will allow a lateral move if another room in a different apartment opens up. It may also be possible for your daughter to "trade" apartments with another student.

    My daughter lived in a similar apartment complex while at college. One of her roommates was a "transfer" from another apartment where the roommates were unable to get along.

    There was a clause in her lease that specifically addressed such a sitaution.

    Good luck.

  4. #4

    Lightbulb Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    Why does your daughter care? Would you daughter call the police if she saw someone jay walking? Is she willing to call the police regarding this matter, as this is a criminal matter? Then let it go. It is not as if your daughter would be getting into trouble for this or like it affects her at all. If the roommates were getting drunk and being being disorderly, I would understand. But mere underage possession of alcohol is so minor, especially in a college town. I wouldn't be surprised if the police refused to respond.

    Here is some really good advice: tell your daughter to ignore this and focus on her studies and her future. Pursuing this nonsense is only gonna drag her down.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    Quote Quoting wally
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    Why does your daughter care? Would you daughter call the police if she saw someone jay walking? Is she willing to call the police regarding this matter, as this is a criminal matter? Then let it go. It is not as if your daughter would be getting into trouble for this or like it affects her at all. If the roommates were getting drunk and being being disorderly, I would understand. But mere underage possession of alcohol is so minor, especially in a college town. I wouldn't be surprised if the police refused to respond.

    Here is some really good advice: tell your daughter to ignore this and focus on her studies and her future. Pursuing this nonsense is only gonna drag her down.
    This could affect my dau. The girl collapsed in front of a drinking establishment downtown the day before my dau. asked her to remove the beer. The same weekend this happened, another building in the complex had 25 people charged - all those underage were charged with MIP and all over 21 with supplying alcohol. She did not supply the beer to her roommate, but doesn't want to take the chance of being accused of it.

    Iowa Law: "An individual over age 21 who gives, sells or supplies an alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age commits a serious misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of between $500 and $1500 and may also be sentenced to up to one year of jail time. If injury results from the actions of an intoxicated minor, the individual who provided the alcohol commits an aggravated misdemeanor and is subject to two years imprisonment and a fine of between $500 and $5000. If death results from having furnished alcohol, the offense is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment."

    Finally, she is in a major that having anything about supplying alcohol on her record might force her to drop out of the major. Also, she works at a school, so she might lose her job there as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    supratentorial region
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    818

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    Does her lease permit her to sublet her room for the remainder of the year/semester?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    9,096

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    Let me ask you a question.

    When you see someone breaking the law, what do you do?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Due to Illegal Activity

    First, it seems that you left out some pertinent information. So NOW I understand your concern.

    Second, it would seem to me to be difficult to prove who supplied the beer and who owned it when it is in a common refrigerator, so it would likely be difficult to charge your daughter with anything, much less convict her in a court of law, but it could be a hassle. Maybe the police or prosecutor can give her some helpful information.

    Your daughter is on record as being opposed to this, and I suppose she could bring this to the attention of the school as well. And again, she could call the police. But I don't see any grounds to breach the lease without incurring liability for the breach, though this behavior is a breach of the other's leases because implicit in the lease is that the rental unit will be used for its "lawful" intended purpose, but I imagine as a practical matter, the landlord must overlook this or go out of business. And a court of competent jurisdiction might not consider the mere possession of a small amount of alcohol to be serious enough to evict the other tenants.

    Third, I leave the minor stuff to the police who have the discretion to charge a violator or not. Things that involve life, limb or property are not considered minor. Jaywalking or speeding is minor. I'll bet you have never called about a jaywalker or a speeder who wasn't go so fast as to be reckless, as that would involve life, limb, and property in my book.

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