1. A franchisee may transfer the franchised business and franchise to a transferee, provided that the transferee satisfies the reasonable current qualifications of the franchisor for new franchisees. For the purposes of this section, a reasonable current qualification for a new franchisee is a qualification based upon a legitimate business reason. If the proposed transferee does not meet the reasonable current qualifications of the franchisor, the franchisor may refuse to permit the transfer, provided that the refusal of the franchisor to consent to the transfer is not arbitrary or capricious.
Terms Used In Iowa Code 523H.5
- Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
- Child: includes child by adoption. See Iowa Code 4.1
- Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
- following: when used by way of reference to a chapter or other part of a statute mean the next preceding or next following chapter or other part. See Iowa Code 4.1
- Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
- Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
- property: includes personal and real property. See Iowa Code 4.1
- year: means twelve consecutive months. See Iowa Code 4.1
2. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a franchisor may exercise a right of first refusal contained in a franchise agreement after receipt of a proposal from the franchisee to transfer the franchise.
3. A franchisor may require as a condition of a transfer any of the following:
a. That the transferee successfully complete a reasonable training program.
b. That a reasonable transfer fee be paid to reimburse the franchisor for the franchisor’s reasonable and actual expenses directly attributable to the transfer.
c. That the franchisee pay or make provision reasonably acceptable to the franchisor to pay any amount due the franchisor or the franchisor’s affiliate.
d. That the financial terms of the transfer comply at the time of the transfer with the franchisor’s current financial requirements for franchisees.
4. A franchisee may transfer the franchisee’s interest in the franchise, for the unexpired term of the franchise agreement, and a franchisor shall not require the franchisee or the transferee to enter into a new or different franchise agreement as a condition of the transfer.
5. A franchisee shall give the franchisor no less than sixty days’ written notice of a transfer which is subject to the provisions of this section, and on request from the franchisor shall provide in writing the ownership interests of all persons holding or claiming an equitable or beneficial interest in the franchise subsequent to the transfer or the franchisee, as appropriate. A franchisee shall not circumvent the intended effect of a contractual provision governing the transfer of the franchise or an interest in the franchise by means of a management agreement, lease, profit-sharing agreement, conditional assignment, or other similar device.
6. A franchisor shall not transfer its interest in a franchise unless the franchisor makes reasonable provision for the performance of the franchisor’s obligations under the franchise agreement by the transferee. For purposes of this subsection, “reasonable provision” means that upon the transfer, the entity assuming the franchisor’s obligations has the financial means to perform the franchisor’s obligations in the ordinary course of business, but does not mean that the franchisor transferring the franchise is required to guarantee obligations of the underlying franchise agreement.
7. A transfer by a franchisee is deemed to be approved sixty days after the franchisee submits the request for consent to the transfer unless the franchisor withholds consent to the transfer as evidenced in writing, specifying the reason or reasons for withholding the consent. The written notice must be delivered to the franchisee prior to the expiration of the sixty-day period. Any such notice is privileged and is not actionable based upon a claim of defamation.
8. A franchisor shall not discriminate against a proposed transferee of a franchise on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disability.
9. A franchisor, as a condition to a transfer of a franchise, shall not obligate a franchisee to undertake obligations or relinquish any rights unrelated to the franchise proposed to be transferred, or to enter into a release of claims broader than a similar release of claims by the franchisor against the franchisee which is entered into by the franchisor.
10. A franchisor, after a transfer of a franchise, shall not seek to enforce any covenant of the transferred franchise against the transferor which prohibits the transferor from engaging in any lawful occupation or enterprise. However, this subsection does not prohibit the franchisor from enforcing a contractual covenant against the transferor not to exploit the franchisor’s trade secrets or intellectual property rights, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.
11. For purposes of this section, “transfer” means any change in ownership or control of a franchise, franchised business, or a franchisee.
12. The following occurrences shall not be considered transfers requiring the consent of the franchisor under a franchise agreement, and shall not result in the imposition of any penalties or make applicable any right of first refusal by the franchisor:
a. The succession of ownership of a franchise upon the death or disability of a franchisee, or of an owner of a franchise, to the surviving spouse, heir, or a partner active in the management of the franchisee unless the successor fails to meet within one year the then current reasonable qualifications of the franchisor for franchisees and the enforcement of the reasonable current qualifications is not arbitrary or capricious.
b. Incorporation of a proprietorship franchisee, provided that such incorporation does not prohibit a franchisor from requiring a personal guaranty by the franchisee of obligations related to the franchise.
c. A transfer within an existing ownership group of a franchise provided that more than fifty percent of the franchise is held by persons who meet the franchisor’s reasonable current qualifications for franchisees. If less than fifty percent of the franchise would be owned by persons who meet the franchisor’s reasonable current qualifications, the franchisor may refuse to authorize the transfer, provided that enforcement of the reasonable current qualifications is not arbitrary or capricious.
d. A transfer of less than a controlling interest in the franchise to the franchisee’s spouse or child or children, provided that more than fifty percent of the entire franchise is held by those who meet the franchisor’s reasonable current qualifications. If less than fifty percent of the franchise would be owned by persons who meet the franchisor’s reasonable current qualifications, the franchisor may refuse to authorize the transfer, provided that enforcement of the reasonable current qualifications is not arbitrary or capricious.
e. A transfer of less than a controlling interest in the franchise of an employee stock ownership plan, or employee incentive plan, provided that more than fifty percent of the entire franchise is held by those who meet the franchisor’s reasonable current qualifications for franchisees. If less than fifty percent would be owned by persons who meet the franchisor’s reasonable current qualifications, the franchisor may refuse to authorize the transfer, provided that enforcement of the reasonable current qualifications is not arbitrary or capricious.
f. A grant or retention of a security interest in the franchised business or its assets, or an ownership interest in the franchisee, provided the security agreement establishes an obligation on the part of the secured party enforceable by the franchisor to give the franchisor notice of the secured party’s intent to foreclose on the collateral simultaneously with notice to the franchisee, and a reasonable opportunity to redeem the interests of the secured party and recover the secured party’s interest in the franchise or franchised business by paying the secured obligation.
13. A franchisor shall not interfere or attempt to interfere with any disposition of an interest in a franchise or franchised business as described in subsection 12, paragraphs “a” through “f”.