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How to Evict a Tenant In Iowa (7 Steps) 

Evicting a tenant in Indiana is prompted by non-payment of rent from a tenant, clear and present danger to either the property or others on the premises, instances in which a tenant breaches the lease, or when a landlord wishes to end the tenancy of a month-to-month agreement. In all instances, if the tenant doesn’t exit the premises or cure the violation within the given timeline, the landlord may proceed with the eviction through a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action in the local small claims court. 

LawsChapter 648 (Forcible Entry and Detainer)

How to Evict

Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice 

Notices to Quit abide by uniform deadlines within the specific circumstance(s) the eviction falls under. 

  • Non-Payment of Rent (3-Day Notice) – An eviction notice for failure to pay can be given to a tenant as soon as their rent is past-due. If the tenant still does not pay within the 3-day period, the landlord may terminate the lease agreement.1
  • Clear and Present Danger (3-Day Notice) – If a tenant has maintained or created a threat constituting a clear and present danger to the health or safety of others, the landlord, or anyone within 1,000 feet of the property, they will be given three days to vacate with the landlord noting the specific act(s) causing danger.2 This includes the tenant taking part in illegal activities such as control of an illegal substance but does not include instances in which the act was committed on the property by somebody other than the tenant.2
  • Non-Compliance (7-Day Notice) – A landlord may choose to deliver a 7-day notice to quit when a breach of the rental agreement occurs, which gives the tenant notice of their specific violation and any options to cure the violation.1 An option to cure is not required from the landlord if the breach occurs more than once within a six-month period following a prior notice.3
  • Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice) – A notice of 30 days is required from either party wishing to end a month-to-month rental agreement so as to avoid creating hardship for the party on the receiving end of the termination.4

Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant 

Many non-payment and non-compliance evictions can be avoided within the notice period if and when the tenant responds to the notice and pays the amount due or cures the violation. 

In all instances, if the tenant has neither communicated, paid rent due, cured the violation, or vacated the premises by the end of the notice period, the landlord may choose to pursue a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action in court. 

Step 3: File In Court 

Forms to File: 

Step 4: Serve the Tenant

Tenants must receive notice of their hearing at least three full days prior to its date, otherwise the court may postpone the hearing.7

Personal service by a process server or hand delivery by the landlord accompanied by a signature from the tenant are required.8 The tenant may then respond to the court with an Appearance and Answer of Defendant to either admit or deny the allegations against them. 

Step 5: Attend a Court Hearing 

Common defenses against eviction in Iowa may include:

  • Constructive Eviction (the unit was unfit or uninhabitable from landlord negligence);
  • Discrimination ;
  • Retaliation; or
  • A landlord’s breach of implied covenant of quiet enjoyment (a universal promise in Iowa that landlords will not interfere with a tenant’s enjoyment of the property).9

Further, the landlord is expected to offer proof of the tenant’s violation or nonpayment of rent that called for eviction as well as proof that the landlord followed due process in eviction proceedings.7

Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Possession

If judges rule in favor of the landlord, the tenant will be ordered to leave the property within three days of judgment.11 However, the tenant may still appeal the ruling within 20 days of the hearing, delaying repossession of the property.12

Step 7: Repossess the Property 

The order for removal will only be executed in the daytime. A local sheriff will notify the tenant that their property will be removed if they haven’t vacated within the 72-hour period, and if the tenant still hasn’t vacated within that time period, the sheriff will oversee removal of their possessions from the property.7

Video: Evictions in Iowa


  1. § 562A.17
  2. § 562A.27A(T) 
  3. § 562A.27(1) 
  4. § 562A.34 
  5. https://eforms.com/eviction/ia/
  6. https://www.freeadvice.com/legal/im-an-iowa-landlord-with-a-difficult-tenant-ive-given-the-tenant-the-proper-iowa-termination-notice-but-he-still-wont-leave-what-next-what-is-the-iowa-eviction-process/#:~:text=To%20file%20an%20eviction%2C%20go,pay%20an%20%2485%20filing%20fee.
  7. https://www.iowalegalaid.org/resource/evictions-101
  8. § 648.5.1-3
  9. https://www.iowacourts.gov/browse/files/95c6504b1cb146a582742b47af3c457c/download
  10. § 648.22
  11. https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/representing-yourself/small-claims/
  12. § 648.20