Property owners in Iowa must follow the eviction process to take possession of a property after a tenant has violated a lease agreement or failed to pay rent. Landlords may not take matters into their own hands and lock tenants out of the residence or turn off utilities to force tenants out.
Landlords begin the eviction process in Iowa with a notice to quit. The notice informs tenants of the landlord's intention to terminate a lease agreement for non-payment of rent or a violation of the lease agreement. Property owners must give the tenant a seven-day notice for violations of the lease agreement. The tenant has seven days to correct the violation or the eviction process will continue. If the same violation occurs again within six months, the landlord is not required to allow the tenant to remedy the problem.
A three-day notice is required for a tenant who fails to pay rent. Tenants may pay the back rent within the three days to avoid eviction.
Landlords must deliver the notice by hand, post it on the property or send it by certified mail. When a landlord sends a notice by certified mail, he must also send an additional copy by regular mail.
Forcible Entry and Detainer
When tenants fail to remedy the problem or vacate the property, the landlord must file a complaint with the Iowa courts to begin a forcible entry and detainer lawsuit. The court will determine a date for the landlord and tenant to appear before the court and state his side of the story.
The judge will determine if the tenant must vacate the property. Landlords must present copies of notices to the hearing. Landlords may also sue the tenant for unpaid rent and damages during the hearing.
When the court finds in favor of the landlord, he must request a writ of possession from the court to remove the tenant from the property. A sheriff will deliver the notice of the writ to the tenant before the eviction. The property owner must ensure that the tenant is still in the residence before the sheriff arrives to remove the tenant.