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Investigation finds issues with notification requirements in property disputes

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Experts tell the Midwest Newsroom that shortcomings in the way Iowa’s quiet title law is written include vague language that defines how someone can argue that the property belongs to them. Another is the way people are notified – or, as in Natalia’s case, are not notified – that there’s a dispute about ownership of their property.

Imagine scrolling through Zillow and finding your house — the one you own — listed for sale by someone else. This was the reality for a Marshalltown family that almost lost their home without their knowledge.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with IPR's Kassidy Arena about her reporting on this case in Marshalltown and the Iowa law that allowed a house title to be changed over to a stranger.

This story comes from the Midwest Newsroom, an investigative journalism collaboration including IPRKCUR 89.3Nebraska Public Media NewsSt. Louis Public Radioand NPR.

More: This family almost lost their home over Iowa’s little-known 'quiet title' law

Then, economist Peter Orazem offers an economic outlook for the state and country.


  • Kassidy Arena, covers Iowa’s Latino and Spanish-speaking communities for IPR
  • Natalie B. Lynner, professor at Drake University Law School
  • Peter Orazem, labor economist at Iowa State University
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa
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