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Iowa Landlord-Tenant Laws

Iowa Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Iowa landlords.  We summarize key Iowa Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Iowa Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Iowa.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Iowa

Iowa landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 3.2 million residents in Iowa.  Major metropolitan markets in Iowa are:

  1. Des Moines: Estimated population of 699,292, which 29% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $873.
  2. Davenport: Estimated population of 379,172, which 29% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $743.
  3. Cedar Rapids: Estimated population of 273,032, which 24% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $728.
  4. Iowa City: Estimated population of 173,105, which 37% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,061.
  5. Waterloo: Estimated population of 168,522, which 31% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $736.
  6. Sioux City: Estimated population of 144,701, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $882.
  7. Ames: Estimated population of 123,351, which 48% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $855.
  8. Dubuque: Estimated population of 97,311, which 25% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $766.

 

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN IOWA

 

Does Iowa require security deposits? 

Iowa does not require security deposits.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Iowa? 

Iowa does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.  Although it is good practice to provide a receipt.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Iowa? 

Landlords cannot charge more than 2 months of rent for security deposit.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(1))

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Iowa: 

Iowa requires security deposits to be held within a federally insurance bank or financial institution.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(2))

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Iowa? 

Landlords are not allowed to commingle.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(2))

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Iowa? 

According to Iowa Statute: any interest earned on a rental deposit during the first five years of a tenancy shall be the property of the landlord.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(2))

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Iowa? 

In Iowa, landlords have 30 days from the date of tenants’ move-out date to return the security deposit.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(3)(a))

 

When can a landlord in Iowa withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(3)(a))):

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Recover expenses incurred in acquiring possession of the premises from a tenant who does not act in good faith in failing to surrender and vacate the premises upon noncompliance with the rental agreement and notification of such noncompliance pursuant
  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.  Landlords can charge any non-refundable fees they deem fit.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

Iowa has no pet deposit.statutes.

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages sent mailed to the tenants address or delivery instructions.  (§ 562A.12(3)(a))

 

What happens to Iowa landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

Landlords that failure to provide a written itemized list within 30 days of tenant move-out shall forfeit all rights to withhold any portion of the rental deposit.  However, if the tenant has not provided an address or delivery instructions within 1 year the tenant will be deemed to have forfeited all rights to the security deposit.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(4))

 

If the landlord in bad-faith kept any portion of the rental deposit, they are subject to punitive damages not to exceed twice the monthly rent payment plus any actual damages costs.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.12(7))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN IOWA

 

Rental agreements required in Iowa:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Iowa rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Iowa?

Iowa requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Subleasing policy
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 

Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenants waiving their rights or remedies
  • Authorizing a person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement
  • Tenant agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney fees
  • Tenant agrees to limitation of any liability or indemnifying the landlord or costs connected

According to (Iowa Code §§ 562A.11)

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Iowa: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Leases simply expire upon the stated date for fixed-end, no notice required.

Month-to-Month: At least 30 days. (Iowa Code §§ 562A.34(2))  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week: At least 10 days.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.34(1))

 

 

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Iowa allows the landlord to bring an action for possession.  Landlord can recover actual damages sustained plus reasonable attorney fees.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.34(4))

 

 

Does the lease automatically renew in Iowa? 

Leases terminate upon expiration, unless stated in the lease.

 

Rent Increase Notice:

Landlords must provide at least 30 days notice, in writing, before the effective date.  The effective date cannot be earlier than the original expiration date in the rental agreement or any renewal date.   (Iowa Code §§ 562A.13(5))

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Iowa has no statute on grace periods.  Landlords may proceed with Quit-Or-Pay notices the following day that unpaid rent was due.

 

Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

Iowa has no statute on grace periods.  Landlords may proceed with Quit-Or-Pay notices the following day that unpaid rent was due.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN IOWA

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords are allowed to charge late fees, the late fees are determined by the amount of rent.  Rents under $700 vs. above $700.

 

 

 

Limits to late fees in Iowa:

Rents under or equal to $700 can charge a late fee up to $12 per day or a total of $60 per month.   (Iowa Code §§ 562A.9(4))

Rents over $700 can charge a late fee up to $20 per day or a total of $100 per month.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.9(4))

 

 

IOWA LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Iowa, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Iowa?

Iowa requires a 3 day notice to pay rent, providing a Pay-Or-Quit Notice. (Iowa Code §§ 562A.27(2))

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 7 day notice to cure, allowing the tenant to remedy the issue.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.27(2))  If the same act or omission recurs within 6 months, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement with a 7 day notice.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.27(1))

 

 

Iowa allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

Landlords can terminate the lease agreement if the tenant breaches the same act in the rental agreement within a 6 month period.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.27(1))

Landlords can terminate the lease agreement if the tenant has created a clear and present danger to another tenant, landlord, landlord’s employee or any individual within 1,000 of the property.  Landlords can file suit against the tenant for recovery of possession.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.27(1))

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How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

IOWA LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Iowa requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide written notice 7 days before the rent due date if they intend to withhold rent.  No specific duration of notice is stated if the tenant does not intend to withhold rent.   (Iowa Code §§ 562A.27(4))

Can tenant withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Tenants can deduct actual and reasonable costs, recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value or recover paid rent for the period on a pro-rata basis.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.23)

 

 

 

 

 

IOWA LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES

What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

Iowa defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including (Iowa Code §§ 562A.15):

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to keep the property in a habitable condition
  • Must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water, at all times.
  • Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, HVAC and applies like elevators.
  • Common areas are kept reasonably clean and free from accumulations of debris and filth
  • Provide and maintain receptacles for garbage and rubbish

 

Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

IOWA TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises. 

 

 

 

 

 

IOWA EVICTION LAWS

 

Iowa requires a landlord to file an Eviction Case action to evict a tenant.  

Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Breach of lease agreement
  • Tenant refuses to vacate the premises after lease expired

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Iowa, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.  Tenants can report to the courts and landlords face fines.  Tenants may seek any remedy available under the current law.

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks. (Iowa Code §§ 562A.26 )

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities.  Tenants can recover possession, terminate the rental agreement and recover actual damages, reasonable attorney fees and punitive damages up to two times the monthly rent.  Plus, the landlord must return all prepaid rent and security.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.26 )

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords have a duty to mitigate damages.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.4(1)

 

 

 

IOWA LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Iowa laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

 

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization

 

Iowa does not define a period of time that would result in a retaliatory action. (Iowa Code §§ 562A.36)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

Iowa has no statutes to protect a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with these victims in good faith and help prevent or reduce the situation.  This includes changing locks or letting the victim out of their lease agreement to find a safer home.

 

 

 

 

IOWA LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

 

Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

No Statute.  Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.

 

 

Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

No Statute.

 

 

Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

IOWA PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Iowa Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

Any limitations on pets that landlords can impose?

No Statute.

 

 

What are the max pet deposits in Iowa:

No Statute for max deposits.  Landlords can also charge non-refundable fees. 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN IOWA NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to Iowa Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Iowa.

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN IOWA

Do landlords in Iowa have to provide notice of entry? 

Iowa does require landlords to provide a 24 hours notice.  This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords can enter without notice in the case of an emergency.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.19 A(2))

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.19 A(1))

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.19 A(1))

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.19 A(2))

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

Yes, during an absence greater than 14 days.  (Iowa Code §§ 562A.29(2))

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

IOWA SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Is subleasing permitted?

Yes, there is no statute preventing subleasing.

 

 

Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent.

 

 

Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes, there is no statute.  Landlords should include language in their rental agreement to prohibit without approval.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN IOWA

 

Iowa Landlord-Tenant Laws does not specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  We suggest landlords keep records of personal property that was left behind and send notice to the tenant.  Landlords should keep records for 12 months to be safe.  This may be from evictions or moving out at the expiration of lease.

 

Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

No Statute.

 

What happens to excess proceeds?

No Statute.

 

How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

No Statute.

 

Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.

 

 

 

Are the landlords liable for damage?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR IOWA LEASES

 

Iowa Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

Landlord and Manager:  Must disclose the name and address of the landlord and manager of the property.

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Iowa Code §§ 562A – Owner-Lessor and Tenant-Lessee

Iowa Code §§ 562A – Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Law

Iowa Code §§ 614.1 – Limitation of Actions

Legislative Guide to Landlord-Tenant Law  (pdf)

Iowa Insurance Division

Iowa Homeowner’s and Renter’s Insurance Consumer Advocacy (pdf)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Iowa

Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau – Real Estate Sales & Brokers

 

 

 

IOWA RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

Iowa Small Claims Court Limits:

$5,000 is the limit for small claims court.

 

 

Iowa Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

Yes.  (Iowa Code §§ 648.5)

Iowa District Courts

Iowa Judicial Branch

Iowa Attorney General

Iowa State Bar Association

 

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