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By Abbey Orzech
Updated on Jun 24, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
In most circumstances, it is illegal for landlords in Iowa to file an eviction lawsuit without providing written notice. If the landlord’s complaint is not remedied by the time the notice expires, they can issue an official complaint with a municipal court.
Between the years of 2000 and 2016, nearly one million people were evicted from their homes annually in the United States. With much of the country still reeling from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people being removed from their homes because they can’t make rent is increasing.
Having a solid grasp on the eviction laws and processes in your state can be helpful armor if you find yourself facing eviction. That’s why Jerry, the insurance savings super app, has put together this guide on Iowa’s eviction laws. We’ll go over the reasons one can get evicted, the general timeline of the process, and ways to defend yourself against unlawful eviction.
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Iowa eviction 101: four ways you can be evicted
Iowa landlords must provide a tenant written notice before filing for eviction. If they don't, the eviction can and will be thrown out, and the landlord will have to restart the process. The length of time given in the notice depends on the reason for eviction.
Generally, there are four reasons your landlord can evict you in Iowa:
- Failure to pay rent: Your landlord must give you three days' notice to either pay the rent and any late fees or the tenant can move
- Violation of lease: Your landlord must provide seven days' notice before filing for eviction if you violate your lease or rental agreement. If you violate the lease for the same reason within a six-month period, you are no longer given the chance to rectify the issue and are instead issued another seven days' notice to leave the property
- Illegal activity: Landlords must provide you with three days' notice for unlawful activity like possessing illicit drugs, possessing or using an illegal firearm, or assault within 1,000 feet of the property
- Material health and safety violation: You will receive seven days' notice if you violate a housing or building code. Common violations are damage to electrical wiring or letting trash pile up
Whatever your landlord is trying to evict you for must fall under one of the above categories. If they cannot prove you to be in violation of any of those reasons but still want to evict you, they will have to wait until your lease term is over.
Landlords can decide to not renew your lease once your lease period is over. Also, If you didn’t have a lease in the first place, your landlord does not need to provide one of the above reasons to evict you. In either of these cases, your landlord still must give you notice and the amount of notice depends on your type of tenancy:
- Week-to-week tenants must receive 10 days' notice
- Month-to-month or longer tenants must receive 30 days' notice
The notice period is the tenant’s chance to either solve the issue or leave the property. If no attempts have been made to fix the issue by the time the notice period expires, the landlord can file for eviction.
Keep in mind that it is illegal for landlords to try to evict you personally. For the process to be lawful, they must go through a court system and adhere to all proper procedures.
Key Takeaway: Iowa landlords must prove a tenant is in some violation of their lease or rental agreement and provide appropriate notice before you can be evicted.
A timeline of eviction in Iowa
The eviction process in Iowa can take anywhere from three to eight weeks. The amount of time given to each eviction depends on its details and the court overseeing the process. Here’s a general guide on the eviction process in Iowa:
|Step||How long it typically takes||What to expect|
|Written notice from landlord||3-30 days||Your landlord provides a written notice giving you a certain amount of time before they file for eviction.|
|Summons and Complaint||At least 3 days prior to the hearing||Your landlord files an official complaint with a court and a hearing is scheduled.|
|Court hearing and judgment||8-15 days||You and your landlord make your cases and a judicial court will make a ruling.|
|Tenant appeal||20 days||If the court rules against you, you have 20 days to make an appeal.|
|Writ of execution issued||Immediately after hearing||If the court rules in favor of your landlord, you’ll receive this final notice to quit the property.|
|Possession of property returned||Within 3 days||You will have to gather your belongings and leave the premises within 3 days or law enforcement will forcibly remove you.|
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Depending on the reason for eviction and what type of court is hearing your case, evictions can move swiftly in Iowa. It’s important to know where you stand in the process to prepare for the next step.
It is recommended that you seek legal advice before the hearing and if you move to appeal the court ruling. It’s also crucial that you are present for your hearing—in many cases, the court will rule in default favor of your landlord if you are not there to make your case.
How to resist eviction in Iowa
Iowa renters have rights and becoming familiar with them will help you defend yourself if you face eviction. Here are a few ways you can fight against an eviction notice:
- Address the cause of the eviction: If you can fix the issue that your landlord filed the complaint over, you may be able to remain in your home
- Point out a procedural mistake: Iowa landlords must go through the court system and follow specific procedures to evict a tenant lawfully. If you experience your landlord cutting corners, shutting off essential utilities, changing the locks, or not providing proper notice, your case may be dismissed
- Argue that the landlord failed to maintain the property: If your landlord’s complaint has to do with property damage, but they haven’t made reasonable maintenance efforts, your case may be dismissed. Keep a record of your maintenance requests and how often, if ever, the landlord acted upon them
- Call out discrimination: In Iowa state law and in Federal law, discrimination-based eviction is illegal. If you think your landlord is trying to evict you solely because of your race, religion, sex, gender, national origin, or disability, your case may be dismissed
How to save money on Iowa car and renters insurance
With the cost of living today, everyone could use some savings. Unfortunately, many renters across the country face eviction because of the nonpayment of rent, and the pandemic has only exasperated this issue. That’s why super app Jerry aims to save you time and money on the things you need, like renters and car insurance.
Jerry contacts your insurance company to get the details of your current coverage so you don’t have to scale a mountain of questions. You get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork. And if that isn’t enough for you, Jerry can even help cancel your old policy.
The savings keep coming even after Jerry finds you great insurance at the lowest price. Before every policy renewal period, you’ll be presented with new competitive quotes, which means you’ll always have the best coverage at the best price.
“This was and is great service! Jerry saved me $400 on my renewal. I was super shocked!” —Jackson M.
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