Frequently Asked Questions

This list is not meant to be exhaustive. If you still have questions or do not understand your rights or responsibilities, please call HOME, Inc. at 515-243-1277.

Renters/Tenants

Do you offer rental assistance? No. Contact General Assistance, 515-286-2088.

HOME, Inc. may have limited funds for qualifying families with an eviction and school-aged children.

What do I do if I get an eviction notice? Landlords almost always have to give a written notice before filing an eviction. Some notices give the tenant time to “cure” the problem, and the tenant may be able to remain in the dwelling unit. Other notices terminate the lease and the tenant may be asked to move out. It is important to act quickly if you have received a notice. If you do not understand a notice, please call HOME, Inc. immediately and speak to a Housing Counselor.  

Does the landlord have to give notice before coming into my home? Except in cases of emergency, a landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours’ notice of his/her intention to enter the unit.

How do I get my deposit back? According to Iowa law, the landlord must return a written itemized list of deductions and remaining deposit or full deposit to the tenant within 30 days after receipt of the tenant’s forwarding address or termination of the rental agreement, whichever occurs last.

What do I do if my landlord is not making repairs? Tenants have a right to safe and sanitary conditions. If you live in a city big enough to have a housing inspector, the inspector will complete an inspection and require the landlord to make repairs. You may also be able to make repairs yourself or end the lease and move out—call a HOME, Inc. counselor for help with these processes. You MUST continue to pay your full rent amount.  

What are the laws on therapy and service animals? Iowa law and the federal Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination in housing accommodations against those who use service animals (and assistive animals, under Iowa law). You must be allowed full and equal access to all housing facilities, and may not be charged extra for having a service animal (although you may have to pay for damage your animal causes). If your lease or rental agreement includes a “no pets” provision, it does not apply to your service animal.

In addition, the federal Fair Housing Act says that housing facilities must allow service dogs and emotional support animals if necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home. To fall under this provision, you must have a disability and you must have a disability-related need for the animal. In other words, the animal must work, perform tasks or services, or alleviate the emotional effects of your disability in order to qualify.

What is the eviction process? Tenants must get notice of any eviction hearing at least 3 days before it takes place. If the tenant is not served notice at least 3 full days before the hearing, the court should postpone the hearing. It may also be possible to serve tenants by posting on the door and mailing, or by certified mail. There may be problems with these types of “service.” A tenant would probably need a lawyer to argue that the notice was no good. It is important that you go to the court hearing. If you don’t go, you could be evicted, even if you have a good defense.

Do you give legal advice? We are unable to give legal advice, however, we counsel both landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities and provide referrals when necessary.

Do you provide temporary housing? No. If you are going to be homeless, please contact Primary Health Care’s Centralized Intake, 1-866-599-3155.

Landlords

Do you offer landlord training? We provide individual counseling to landlords.

Do you offer group tenant training? Yes, we offer training using the RentWise curriculum. Contact our office for more details.

Do you give legal advice? We are unable to give legal advice, however, we counsel both landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities and provide referrals when necessary.

How do I evict someone? Landlords almost always have to give a written notice before filing an eviction. Some notices give the tenant time to “cure” the problem, and the tenant may be able to remain in the dwelling unit. Other notices terminate the lease and the tenant may be asked to move out. If you do not understand the process, please call HOME, Inc. immediately and speak to a Housing Counselor.  

What are the laws on therapy and service animals? Iowa law and the federal Fair Housing Act and prohibit discrimination in housing accommodations against those who use service animals (and assistive animals, under Iowa law). You must be allowed full and equal access to all housing facilities, and may not be charged extra for having a service animal (although you may have to pay for damage your animal causes). If your lease or rental agreement includes a “no pets” provision, it does not apply to your service animal.

In addition, the federal Fair Housing Act says that housing facilities must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home. To fall under this provision, you must have a disability and you must have a disability-related need for the animal. In other words, the animal must work, perform tasks or services, or alleviate the emotional effects of your disability in order to qualify.

Does the landlord have to give notice before entering a tenant’s home? Except in cases of emergency, a landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours’ notice of his/her intention to enter the unit.

What is the eviction process? Tenants must get notice of any eviction hearing at least 3 days before it takes place. If the tenant is not served notice at least 3 full days before the hearing, the court should postpone the hearing. It may also be possible to serve tenants by posting on the door and mailing, or by certified mail. There may be problems with these types of “service.” A tenant would probably need a lawyer to argue that the notice was no good. It is important that you go to the court hearing. If you don’t go, you could be evicted, even if you have a good defense.

How do I return a deposit? According to Iowa law, the landlord must return a written itemized list of deductions and remaining deposit, or full deposit to the tenant within 30 days after receipt of the tenant’s forwarding address or termination of the rental agreement, whichever occurs last.

Homeownership

Do you have houses for rent? Yes, upon availability. Please check the Rental Housing Available page on our website. 

How do I get a list of HUD homes for sale? We do not have a list of HUD homes. Please see the HUD website at www.hudhomes.com.

Is there an online Homebuyer Education program? Yes. Please visit the eHome Online Homebuyer Education page on our website. 

Do you sell homes outside of Des Moines? No, HOME, Inc. only builds in the City of Des Moines.

Is the program only for first time homebuyers? Yes, HUD defines first time homebuyers as anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years or a single person who previously owned a house with a spouse.

What is the eligibility criteria to qualify for a HOME, Inc. house? You must meet income guidelines as defined in the “Financing” section on our Homes Available page.  You must also complete the Homeownership Readiness Assessment. Visit this page to access the questionnaire. 

Do you help buy homes on contract? We can help with the basics, but if you are looking for legal advice please contact Iowa Legal Aid toll-free at 1-800-532-1503 or locally at 515-243-1193. 

I want to buy a house, where do I start? Start here on our website.

Do you provide mortgages? No. We provide the property and potential grants for down payment assistance based on qualifications. Homeowners will still need to obtain conventional financing.

Do you offer down payment assistance? Yes, but only for HOME, Inc. properties and the amount varies upon buyer eligibility.

Donors & Community Supporters

How do I donate to HOME, Inc.? There are many ways to give to HOME, Inc. including the Annual Fund, Planned Giving, Tributes & Memorials, in-kind donations, and Sponsorship Opportunities. Visit our Get Involved page to donate online with a credit card or learn more. Donations can also be made by cash or check and mailed to 1618 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50314. Checks can be made out to HOME, Inc.

Where exactly does my donation go? Through HOME, Inc.’s General Fund 100% of your donations go towards the programs and services we provide – directly impacting the families we serve.

Is my donation tax-deductible? Yes! Your donation to HOME, Inc. is fully tax deductible to the extent of the law. The level of tax-deductibility depends on the amount donated. Please consult your tax adviser for specific tax advice. 

Do you only accept monetary donations? There are many ways to support HOME, Inc. including Planned Giving (bequests, insurance policies, gifts of stock and/or mutual funds), in kind donations, and Sponsorships. Visit our Get Involved page to learn more. 

Who do I contact for more information on donations? Kourtney Kirkpatrick, Director of Fundraising, krikpatrick.kourtney@homeincdsm.org, 515-777-8749 x212