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Iowa Lease Agreements & Landlord-Tenant Law

Iowa’s housing market has managed to keep going strong even after the 2008 crash. The home values have continued to rise, and demand for housing has followed the same trend, making it an excellent state for property investors. Iowa is also a state that should be high on the list of anyone looking to relocate. The low cost of living paired with a top-rated education system makes for an ideal location to live.


Laws that impact the rental market, landlords, and tenants are constantly being decided in states. Make sure you know what’s on your ballot – find Iowa voting information.

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Iowa Renters’ Rights and Landlord Responsibilities

  • Required to make repairs within seven days
  • Must return security deposit within 30 days
  • 30-day notice required before raising rent
  • Must give 24-hour notice before entering the rental

Iowa Landlord Responsibilities Image

When it comes to Iowa rental laws, there are a few specifics landlords need to know:

  1. Making Repairs – It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the rental in safe and healthy living conditions. If something needs repairing, the tenant may deliver the landlord written notice of what needs to be repaired or replaced. The landlord then has seven days to make the repairs, and if they fail to do so, the tenant may pay for the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their next rent payment.
  2. Security Deposit – Iowa law limits the amount of the security deposit to two months of rent. Landlords must return the deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out.
  3. Raising Rent – Landlords in Iowa may increase the rent to any amount with a 30-day notice.
  4. Notice of Entry – Landlords must give their tenants a 24-hour notice before entering the unit unless it is an emergency, then no notice is required.

Iowa Landlords’ Rights and Tenant Responsibilities

  • Landlords must give tenants a three-day notice if they fail to pay rent before filing for eviction
  • Renters have 14 days to claim abandoned property
  • Tenants must keep the property in safe and habitable conditions

Iowa Tenant Responsibilities Image

  1. Overdue Rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must notify them and give them three days to pay. If the tenant still fails to pay, then the landlord may file for eviction.
  2. Abandoned Property – If a tenant moves out and leaves behind personal property, the landlord must give the tenant 14 days to claim the items. If the tenant fails to claim the property, the landlord may dispose of it in any way they deem acceptable.
  3. Tenant Responsibilities – Tenants are required to remove all garbage and keep fixtures clean. They must also make minor repairs around the property when necessary.

Rental Application Fees

There are no additional rental application fee laws in Iowa.

Criminal Background Check

  • HUD (Federal) laws do not classify criminal backgrounds as a protected class, but making a decision to rent based off a criminal background alone could lead to a discrimination charge as it impacts certain protected groups of people disproportionately.
    • However, if the criminal background check revealed a crime for the manufacture and distribution of drugs, homicide and/or stalking, denying the application is allowed.
  • Landlords should have a consistent and equal policy or procedure in place to follow regarding criminal background checks so as not to discriminate against one class of people over another.
  • HUD states that a landlord cannot ask about arrest records, only convictions, as innocent people are commonly arrested though the situation may not have resulted in a conviction.
  • Some municipalities may have written their own laws expanding onto what you can and cannot ask regarding criminal backgrounds during the tenant screening process.

Security Deposits

Security deposits must be held in either a trust account, FDIC-insured bank, credit union, or savings and loan association. Interest earning is optional.

Late Fees

No grace period stated by late fees can be assessed as follows:

  • For rent under $700, late fees are limited to $12/day or $60 max
  • For rent over $700, late fees are limited to $20/day or $100 max


  • All shared utilities must be disclosed along with formula for splitting the cost.
  • Landlords must disclose if the property appears on the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Information (CERCLA) System.

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Iowa Lease Agreement Example

There are three sections to a residential lease agreement. The first section outlines the custom details of the contract, such as who’s involved and for what address. Here’s an example Iowan lease agreement listing details found in Section 1:

Iowa Lease Agreement Sample

Iowa Landlord-Tenant Law FAQ

Below are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to landlord-tenant laws in Iowa:

Iowa Landlord-Tenant Law FAQ Image

Can You Withhold Rent in Iowa?

The only case in which a tenant may withhold rent in Iowa is under the repair and deduct statute. This takes effect if the landlord fails to make necessary repairs, then the tenant may pay for the repairs and deduct the cost from their next rent payment.

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Iowa?

Evicting a tenant in Iowa typically takes anywhere from three to eight weeks, depending on the reason for eviction.

Is Iowa a Landlord-Friendly State?

Iowa is a decently landlord-friendly state where there are few rent control laws. Make sure to always check local area laws, along with state laws, to ensure you’re fully educated.

What is the Eviction Process in Iowa?

There are five reasons a landlord may file for eviction in Iowa. The five reasons include failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, end of lease term, safety violation, and illegal activity. Depending on the violation, the landlord must give the tenant notice and anywhere from three to 30 days to cure their violation.

If the tenant fails to cure or move out, then the landlord may file a complaint with the court, which will then be served to the tenant at least three days prior to the eviction hearing.

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, then a writ of execution will be issued immediately. Once the tenant has been served the writ of execution, they will have three days to move out.

How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give a Tenant to Move Out in Iowa?

Landlords must give tenants a 30-day notice before requiring them to move out.

Due Diligence and Iowa Rental Laws


TurboTenant has utilized many municipal sources along with official state statutes in order to compile this information to the best of our ability. However, local laws are always in flux, and landlords and tenants alike should be sure to do their due diligence and consult legal help when it’s needed. We hope the following list can serve as a valuable resource and allow you to succeed as a landlord or tenant in Iowa. Be sure to take proper precautions when it comes to finding the top candidates for your unit by utilizing our online rental application and tenant screening services.

Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.


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Iowa Landlord-Tenant Law Resources

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