An Iowa eviction notice is a document written by the landlord or their agent (usually a property manager) and address to the tenant. It informs the tenant that they’ve violated the lease in some way. The tenant is given a certain amount of time to correct the lease violation or vacate the property. Iowa eviction notices are better known as a notice to quit. Iowa eviction notices must comply with Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.
An Iowa eviction notice must include certain information:
Iowa eviction notices must be legally served. If they aren’t, the landlord may not be allowed to move forward with the eviction process. It must be served in person by a process server, hand delivered by the landlord if the tenant signs an acknowledgement of service, or placed on the front door with a copy also sent by certified mail.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment of Rent
A 3-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent informs the tenant that they must pay the rent that is past due or vacate the property. The tenant is given three days from the date of the notice to catch up on their rent. If the tenant claims that they didn’t pay their rent because there is a condition on the property that the landlord is legally obligated to take care of, the tenant must give the landlord seven days of notice before the rent is due to inform the landlord that the issue exists.
This notice should inform the tenant of the full amount that they owe. A 3-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent must comply with Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.27.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Clear and Present Danger
A 3-day notice to quit because of a clear and present danger means that the landlord is terminating the lease agreement and wants possession of the rental property at the end of the three days because the tenant created or maintained a threat that is considered a clear and present danger under Iowa law:
This notice can be caused by the actions of the tenant or by someone the tenant knew who took these actions on or near the property if the tenant did not take measures to stop that person. Actions the tenant may take include, but may not be limited to:
The notice must explain which of the three actions above caused it to be issued.
7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
A 7-day notice to quit for non-compliance informs the tenant that they’ve violated the lease agreement and that they have seven days to correct it or vacate the property. An explanation of the violation should be given in the notice. If the tenant violates the lease in the same way within six months, the tenant may terminate the lease agreement with a 7-day notice. The landlord does not have to give the tenant the opportunity to correct it again. This notice is governed by Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.27.
30-Day Notice to Quit for Month-to-Month
A 30-day notice to quit for a month-to-month lease isn’t an eviction notice. It acts in a similar way because it informs the tenant that the landlord does not plan to renew the lease agreement. It must include the date that the tenant should vacate the premises. This notice should comply with Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.34.
Eviction notices are the first step of the legal eviction process. A landlord cannot generally sue the tenant without first issuing an eviction notice. Iowa landlords may not change the locks, shut off the utilities, or remove the tenant’s belongings without a court order. Those methods are referred to as “self-help” evictions. Landlords may not evict tenants for discriminatory reasons or out of retaliation for the tenant reporting the landlord or the property to the authorities for code violations.
Eviction notices must be legally served upon the tenant. The legal service methods are explained in the section above.
Eviction notices are serious and should not be ignored. Read the eviction notice carefully to understand why it was given to you and what you can do to retain possession of the property. If you’re served because of a clear and present danger, there are things you may be able to do to stop the eviction process. If you receive an eviction notice for non-compliance, read it carefully so that you understand how the lease was violated, what you can do to correct the violation, and the date by which you should fix the issue. You should also understand that if you violate the lease in the same way within six months, the landlord can send you a notice to move and they do not have to allow you to fix the violation again.
Not all evictions are legal. We discussed illegal evictions under Legal Considerations. If you believe that you’re a victim of an illegal eviction, you can elect to get legal help. Your first option is to hire a landlord-tenant attorney. If you do have a claim for illegal eviction, a lawyer can inform you of your legal options. If you cannot afford an attorney, contact Drake Law School or University of Iowa College of Law and ask if they have a legal clinic. Legal clinics are managed by law students who are supervised by licensed attorneys. They provide low cost or free legal help to people in the community. A lot of clinic time may focus on helping tenants. Your third option is to contact a legal aid office. They provide low cost legal help for people who meet certain income requirements. They also have a lot of helpful information on their website.
Landlords must comply with Iowa landlord-tenant law. Eviction notices are the first step in the legal eviction process. If you believe that your tenant has created a clear and present danger, make sure that you read the associated laws and understand what you can do and when you can do it. Your tenant may be able to do certain things to avoid eviction.
Eviction notices must be legally served upon the tenant. You may find that it is better to hire a process server than to serve the tenant on your own. Additionally, you must not change the locks, turn off the utilities, or remove the tenant’s property until you receive an order from the court. Using an illegal eviction method can subject you to a lawsuit.