Iowa landlord-tenant laws

Iowa, where Rob Lowe struck a goldfinch mid-air sending it to its demise with a golf ball (mistakenly, of course) while playing a round of golf at a celebrity golf tourney; the odds of this happening, 1 in 747,000,000.  Being a successful landlord in Iowa has significantly better odds. Rents hanging at the medium range of $800 along with Iowa being reported as one of the safest places to live (unless you are a goldfinch at a golf course) make Iowa a great place to have a rental property.


At a Glance:

Late Fees: Late fees are determined by the amount of rent. Rents above $700 have a limit of $100 per month; under $700 late fee limit is $60.

Security Deposit: The security deposit may not exceed an amount totaling two months’ rent.

Returned Payment Fee Limit: $30 which must be specified beforehand.

Notice to Enter: Twenty-four-hour notice is required unless there is an emergency.


Late Fee/Returned Check Fee:

Iowa possesses specific late fee regulations found in section 562A.9 of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Law. Where the rental amount per month is less than $700 dollars, the late fee may not surpass $12 per day or a total of $60 per month. For those rents that are more than $700 per month, the late fee must be less than $20 per day or a total not to exceed $100 per month.

Returned Checks or payments may be assessed a fee or charge of no more than $30, however this is only if the tenant is made known of this charge in the lease or in a visible place where rent is collected.


Security Deposits:

When a security deposit is collected from a tenant, it cannot be more than 2 months’ rent. Additionally, it must be kept in a separate bank account than the landlord’s personal or operating accounts. At the end of the tenancy, within 30 days, the landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant’s forwarding or last known address. If any amounts are withdrawn to cover past due rent, other charges owed or damages to the apartment, a written statement listing all of the costs must then be sent along with any remaining amount.



Iowa mandates that the landlord make sure and keep the property in fit and healthy condition. There must be running water, hot and cold along with working heat each year between October 1 and May 1. The only exception is where a property utilities are in control of a public utility and in the tenant’s responsibility.


Right of Entry:

In Iowa, before a landlord enters the rental unit to make repairs or show the rental unit, a 24-hour notice must be provided to the tenant. There are no specifications as to whether this notice must be in writing or whether it may be delivered verbally. Emergencies do not require an advance notice.


Notice to End Lease: 

If there is a lease where a predetermined ending date exists (fixed term lease) then no notice is required, unless the lease specifies otherwise. A lease that runs month to month would require either party to provide to the other at least a thirty-day advanced notice; in the case of a weekly renter, ten days.



Although eviction is a last resort, it sometimes is necessary. Most importantly follow the law! Never take things in your own hands when evicting a tenant such as changing the locks behind their backs. First proper notice must be given and filing in the appropriate court if the tenant does not either pay or correct the issue, if possible.

The most common reason for eviction by far is non-payment of rent. In these cases in Iowa, according to Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, §562A.27, a notice of at least 3 days must be delivered to the tenant. If the tenant pays, then no need to go to court. However, if the tenant does not pay, then at the end of the 3-day period, the landlord may terminate the lease agreement and file a complaint in court.

For violations other than non-payment of rent, a 7-day notice must be sent to the tenant(s) specifying the violations. If the tenant ignores this notice and fails to remediate the violations (cure), a second notice is provided. This is a 3-Day Notice To Quit. This gives the offending tenant 3 days to vacate the premises. At the end of 3 days, if the tenant remains, the landlord may then file for eviction in court. 


Questions? Ask an Iowa Attorney!

Have questions about Iowa’s landlord-tenant laws?  We have you covered.  Ask in the box below, to have your questions answered by living, flesh-and-blood attorneys!


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DISCLAIMER: Wellspring Financial LLC DBA is for informational purposes only! Any information, legal or otherwise is provided “as is” without any representations, truth, accuracy, exactness or warranties, expressed or implied. Any data, form, or information provided shall NOT be construed or taken to be legal advice. You must NOT rely on any data, form, or information on this website as an alternative to obtaining sound, legal advice from a licensed or professional legal service provider.

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