Iowa Landlord Tenant Laws
January 31, 2023
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|Required Disclosures |
Comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: Banned
Late Fee Limit: $12 or $20 per day
Grace Period Minimum: None
Amount Limit: 2 months’ rent
Return Within: 30 days
Notice: 24 hours’
Permitted Times of Entry: Reasonable
|Fair Housing Protections |
Rent Demand Notice: 3-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 7-day cure-or-quit notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3-day quit notice
Iowa Landlord-Tenant Law
Understand the essential state landlord tenant laws in Iowa before enforcing your own rental policies. Find more information in the Iowa state law code.
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
Landlords must disclose in writing the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises and/or act on behalf of the owner for the purpose of receiving notices.
An Iowa lease agreement must disclose and fully explain the utility rates, charges, and services to a prospective tenant before they sign a lease, unless the tenant is directly responsible for paying the utility company.
Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Information
Before entering into a rental agreement with any tenant, landlords in Iowa must disclose if the property to be rented is listed in the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information system maintained by the federal environmental protection agency (EPA).
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: Unless otherwise specified in the lease agreement, rent in Iowa is due at the dwelling unit at the beginning of each month (Iowa Code § 562A.9(3)).
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in Iowa.
- Rent Increases: Rent control is banned in Iowa (Iowa Code § 364.3(9)). Landlords must also notify tenants in writing of any rent increase at least 30 days before it is instated. Rent increases may not be instated any sooner than the expiration date of the original lease, renewal, or extension (Iowa Code § 562A.13(5)).
- Late Fees: $12 per day if rent is less than $700 per month; $20 per day if rent exceeds $700 per month (Iowa Code § 562A.9(4)).
- Grace Period: There is no mandatory grace period in Iowa.
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee of $25 (Iowa Admin. Code § 481-30.6).
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If the landlord defaults on their obligations in a way that materially affects the tenant’s health and safety, the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord. The notice should specify the noncompliance and state that the lease will terminate in seven days if the breach is not remedied. The tenant may also recover damages, obtain injunctive relief, and recover attorney fees, except if the landlord’s noncompliance was due to circumstances reasonably beyond the landlord’s control (Iowa Code § 562A.21).
- Deposit Limit: 2 months’ rent (Iowa Code § 562A.12(1)).
- Interest: When security deposits are kept in interest-bearing accounts, the landlord must pay tenants the interest earned after the first five years of the tenancy (Iowa Code § 562.12(2)).
- Return Within: 30 days (Iowa Code § 562.12(3a)).
- Deposit Location: Security deposits must be kept in a bank, savings and loan association, or credit union insured by an agency of the federal government. Deposits must be kept in separate bank accounts and not commingled with personal funds (Iowa Code § 562.12(2)).
- Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent/bills to restore the dwelling unit to its original condition (ordinary wear and tear excepted), or to recover certain eviction or lease breach expenses. The landlord must also provide a written statement itemizing the specific reasons for withholding any portion of the deposit (Iowa Code § 562A.12).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Iowa state law adds sexual orientation and gender identity, and HIV/AIDS status (Iowa Code § 216.8, Iowa Fair Housing Guide).
- Iowa landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in Iowa.
- Iowa landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: 24 hours’ (Iowa Code § 562A.19(3))
- Permitted Times: Landlords in Iowa may only enter at reasonable times (Iowa Code § 562A.19(3)).
- Emergency Entry: In case of an emergency, the landlord may enter without prior notice or consent (Iowa Code § 562A.19(2)).
- Rent Demand Notice: 3 days to pay or quit (Iowa Code § 562A.27(2)).
- Notice for Lease Violation: 7 days to cure or quit. How many lease violations before eviction in Iowa depends on how frequently they occurred—if substantially the same violation recurs within six months of the first violation, the landlord may send a 7-day notice to quit without opportunity to cure (Iowa Code § 562A.27(1)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3 days to quit. According to Iowa eviction laws, this notice applies when the tenant has created a threat that constitutes a clear and present danger to the health or safety of other tenants, the landlord, or other people near the landlord’s property (Iowa Code § 562A.27A).
Other Laws and Facts About Iowa
- The median rent rate in Iowa is $1,026.
- The median rent rate in Des Moines is $1,070.
- In Iowa, it is illegal for a landlord to impose penalties on a tenant who exercises their right to summon law enforcement assistance or other emergency assistance on behalf of a victim of abuse, crime, or another emergency (Iowa Code § 562A.27B(1)).