If you’re a landlord seeking to evict a tenant, use an Iowa (IA) eviction notice to begin the process. Your eviction notice must be written according to Iowa state law and give your tenant the legally required amount of time to respond or move out.
In Iowa, eviction lawsuits are governed by Title XV, Chapter 648 of the Iowa Code.
For reference, an Iowa eviction notice is also known as:
- Iowa Notice to Quit
- Iowa Notice to Quit for Non-Payment of Rent
- Iowa Notice to Vacate
- Iowa Lease Termination
Iowa Eviction Notices by Type
Download a free eviction notice customized for Iowa state law below in MS Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF format.
30-Day Lease Termination: Use this notice to let a tenant know that you’re ending a month-to-month lease and that they must prepare to leave your property. In Iowa, landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice to move out if they’re on a month-to-month lease. If the tenant doesn’t move out within 30 days, you may take legal action.
7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance: Use this notice to begin evicting a tenant if they’ve broken the terms of your lease. In Iowa, landlords must give tenants seven days’ notice before the eviction process can proceed in court. In that time, tenants may have the option to fix (or “cure”) the problem if it’s their first time causing this problem. However, if they repeat the same violation within six months, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease and forcibly evict the tenant by court order.
3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: Use this notice to begin evicting a tenant if they haven’t paid rent on time. In Iowa, landlords must give tenants three days to pay rent before the eviction process can proceed in court. If the tenant pays the rent within those three days, you cannot file an eviction lawsuit.
If you wish to send a letter simply reminding your tenant that rent is late (without the threat of eviction), use a late rent notice.
Eviction Laws & Requirements
- Eviction Lawsuit: After giving the tenant three days to address the eviction notice, the landlord may obtain a writ and petition for forcible entry and detainer from the small claims or district court (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.27(2)).
- Grace Period for Rent Payment: Iowa law does not cover grace periods, so rent is due as stated in the rental or lease agreement (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.9(3)).
- Late or Non-Rent Payment Notice: 3 days. A landlord may charge no more than $60.00 per month in late fees if rent is less than $600.00 per month and no more than $100.00 per month for rent over $700.00 (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.9). For non-payment of rent, the landlord may give a three-day notice to pay or quit once rent late (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.27(2)).
- Notice of Non-Compliance: 7 days. A landlord must give the tenant a 7-day notice to comply with lease terms. If the tenant doesn’t comply, the landlord may evict them after the 3-day notice period (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.27). If the tenant creates a clear and present danger on the property, the landlord may evict the tenant after three days. (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.27A)
- Lease Termination (Month-to-Month): 30 days. If the lease doesn’t mention a timeframe for ending it, either the landlord or tenant may give a 30-day notice to terminate the lease. (Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.34)
What is the Eviction Process in Iowa?
Step 1: Serve the eviction notice on the tenant
The landlord must first serve on a tenant a three-day notice to quit. This notice must state the reason/s for eviction and be personally served on the tenant or other legal adult (18+) living on the property.
Alternatively, the notice may be posted at the residence and a copy sent by certified mail. Whether the landlord serves the notice to the tenant in person or posts it at their residence, serving notice is a mandatory step for a landlord before they can legally begin the eviction process.
Step 2: File an eviction lawsuit
If a tenant hasn’t paid rent, cured a lease violation, or moved out after three days, a landlord may electronically file a forcible entry and detainer petition and verification of account forms with the small claims court or district court in the county where the premises are located.
Step 3: Serve the lawsuit
The petition for forcible entry and detainer must be served on the tenant or anyone over 18 at the premises by a process server. Alternatively, the lawsuit may be posted at the residence and a copy sent by certified mail.
Step 4: Schedule the hearing
The court sets a date for the hearing within 8 to 15 days of filing the petition.
Step 5: Tenant answers or defaults
If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, they must electronically file a written answer to the petition. If the tenant fails to appear at the hearing or the court decides in favor of the landlord, the tenant must move out and the landlord regains possession of the property.
Step 6: Either party may appeal
If the tenant or landlord disagrees with the court’s decision, either may file an appeal. Either party must appeal within 20 days of the final judgment.
Step 7: Await the judgment from the court
If the landlord wins, the court enters judgment and issues a writ of possession to the landlord. The writ is served on the tenant by a sheriff. The tenant then has three days to leave the premises.
However, if the tenant wins, the lawsuit is dismissed and the tenant doesn’t need to move out.
Related Iowa Court Forms
Notice to Vacate Premises: This notice lets a tenant know that they must leave the rental premises due to a lease or rental agreement violation.
Original Notice and Petition for Forcible Entry and Detainer: This document begins the eviction lawsuit for non-payment of rent or lease violation, stating the facts of the tenancy and non-payment.
Verification of Account, Identification of Judgment Debtor, and Certificate Re Military Service: Filed with the clerk of the court to verify information about the tenant’s identity and location.
Appearance and Answer of Defendant(s): The tenant answers the eviction lawsuit with this document, alleging any special defenses, such as uninhabitable premises or full payment of rent.
Request for General Execution: The court issues this document after judgment is entered for the landlord, and is used to collect rent or other fees due.
Writ of Removal and Possession: the court issues this document after judgment is entered for the landlord and is used by the sheriff to remove the tenant from the rental premises.
Eviction Information for Iowa Landlords and Tenants
Resources for Landlords
Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act — The applicable Iowa statutes governing landlord and tenant rights, obligations, and legal actions notes that a landlord must not use self-help to evict a tenant, such as turning off utilities or locking the tenant out of the premises.
Legislative Guide to Landlord-Tenant Law – Iowa Legislative Services Agency — A reprint of the Iowa laws governing landlords and tenants.
Landlords of Iowa — A resource business association for landlords.
Resources for Tenants
Fair Housing Act — The federal statute forbidding landlords from discriminating against tenants based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, family status or disability.
Tenant resource page at HUD.gov — for tenants in federally assisted housing.
Summary of Iowa landlord and tenant — Iowa legal aid society’s resource page for rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, as well as low-cost legal aid.
The Iowa State Bar Association — Provides information on housing in Iowa.