Iowa Rental Laws

Written on May 14, 2015 by , updated on February 26, 2018

flag-of-iowaThis article summarizes some key Iowa landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No more than two months rent. (§§ 562A.12(1))
  • Security Deposit Interest: Any interest earned on a rental deposit during the first five years of a tenancy is the property of the landlord. (§§ 562A.12(2))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Deposits shall be held in a federally insured bank or other financial institution and can not be commingled with the landlord’s personal funds. (§§ 562A.12(2))
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days from the date of the tenants’ move-out date and the receipt of the tenant’s mailing address and/or delivery instructions. (§§ 562A.12(3)(a))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit:
    • To cover unpaid rent or other funds due to the landlord;
    • To restore the unit to the condition it was in at the beginning of the tenancy, except for ordinary wear and tear;
    • To 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 proper notification of such noncompliance. (§§ 562A.12(3)(a))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes, a written statement showing the specific reason for withholding the rental deposit or any portion thereof is required to be provided to the tenant within 30 days of move-out. (§ 562A.12(3)(a))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: In a lawsuit over the rental deposit, the landlord has the burden to prove the reason for withholding all or any portion of the deposit. (§§ 562A.12(3)(b))
  • Receipt of Deposit: No statute
  • Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to provide a written statement of deposit withholdings within 30 days, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the deposit. If no mailing address or delivery instructions are provided to the landlord within one year from the termination of the tenancy the rental deposit shall revert to the landlord and the tenant will be deemed to have forfeited all rights to the rental deposit. The bad-faith retention of all or part of a deposit by a landlord, makes the landlord liable for punitive damages up to twice the monthly rent plus actual damages. (§§ 562A.12(4) and (7))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: Unless agreed to otherwise in the lease, rent is due at the beginning of any term of one month or less. (§§ 562A.9(3))
  • Rent Increase Notice: At least 30 days written notice required before the effective date. Such effective date shall not be sooner than the expiration date of original rental agreement or any renewal or extension. (§§ 562A.13(5))
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: If the rent is $700 or less per month, the lease may include a late fee of up to $12 per day, or a total amount of $60 per month. If the rent is more than $700 per month, the lease may provide for a late fee of up to $20 per day, or a total amount of $100 per month. (§§ 562A.9(4))
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: Not to exceed $30 (§§ 554.3512)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Allowed. If landlord sues to evict for nonpayment of rent, tenant may use as a defense the landlord’s noncompliance with the rental agreement or statutory Landlord Duties, if the tenant gave seven-day notice prior to the rent due date of the tenant’s intention to correct the condition constituting the breach, and the reasonable cost of that correction is equal to or less than one month’s rent, and the correction was made prior to receipt of written notice of the landlord’s intention to terminate the rental agreement for nonpayment of rent. (§§ 562A.27(4) and §§ 562A.24)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Allowed. If landlord fails to supply essential services, the tenant may, after giving written notice, procure reasonable amounts of essential services and deduct their cost from the rent. See statute for other provisions and remedies. (§§ 562A.23)
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: In any lawsuit over a rental agreement, the court may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party. The rental agreement may not include a requirement that the either part pay the other party’s attorney fees. In eviction cases, landlord may recover the actual damages sustained by the landlord and reasonable attorney fees. (§§ 562A.12(8) and §§ 562A.11(1)(c) and §§ 562A.34(4) )
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (§§ 562A.4(1) and §§ 562A.29(3))
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Notice not required as the lease simply ends.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: Either landlord or tenant may terminate a tenancy having a term longer than month-to-month by written notice given to the other at least 30 days before the end of the first or subsequent term of the tenancy specified in the notice. (§§ 562A.34(3))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: Either landlord or tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by written notice to the other at least 30 days before the periodic rental date specified in the notice. (§§ 562A.34(2))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Either landlord or tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by written notice to the other at least 10 days before the termination date specified in the notice. (§§ 562A.34(1))
  • Termination of Tenancy for Creating a Clear and Present Danger to Others: Three-day written notice of termination and notice to quit required stating the specific activity causing the clear and present danger, and the tenant has the opportunity to contest the termination in court. (§§ 562A.27(1) and (2))
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Three-day written notice (§§ 562A.27(2))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Seven-day notice specifying the violation. (§§ 562A.27(1))
  • Unconditional Termination for Lease Violation: If a similar violation occurs within six months of a previous notice that the tenant remedied, the landlord can unconditionally terminate the agreement with seven days’ notice. (§§ 562A.27(1))
  • Required Notice before Entry: At least 24-hour notice required and entry allowed only at reasonable times. (§§ 562A.19(3))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§§ 562A.19(1))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§§ 562A.19(1))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (§§ 562A.19 A(2))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Entry allowed if tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises, and when reasonably necessary during an absence of the tenant longer than 14 days. Also, the rental agreement may require the tenant to notify the landlord of any anticipated extended absence no later than the first day of the extended absence. (§§ 562A.19(4) and §§ 562A.20 and §§ 562A.29(2))
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No. See §§ 562A.26 for remedies. (§§ 562A.33)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. See §§ 562A.26 for remedies. (§§ 562A.33)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: The landlord shall provide the tenant in writing before the start of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and that of an owner of the premises or other person authorized to act on behalf of the owner for the service of process and for receipt of notices and demands. (§§ 562A.13)
  • Utility Rates: Landlord or authorized property manager shall fully explain utility rates, charges and services to the prospective tenant before the rental agreement is signed, unless utilities are paid by the tenant directly to the utility company. (§§ 562A.13(4))
  • Environmental Liability: Landlord or authorized property manager shall disclose to each tenant in writing before the start of the tenancy if the property is listed in the comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information system maintained by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. (§§ 562A.13(6))
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of Domestic Violence status.
    • Protection from Termination: Landlord cannot terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a tenancy, or refuse to enter into a rental agreement with a victim of domestic violence. (§§ 562A.27A(3))
  • Landlord’s Duties: (§§ 562A.15)
    • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied; and
    • Trash: Provide appropriate receptacles, accessible to all tenants, for collection and removal of waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal; and
    • Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1 except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (§§ 562A.17)
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct themselves and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate, refuse to renew a lease, or increase rent to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, or has been involved in a tenant’s organization. Any such act against the tenant within one-year of a good-faith complaint will be considered retaliatory. Other actions are prohibited. Read §§ 562A.36 for more information.
  • Lead Disclosure:  Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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75 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Savannah Esser

    Can my landlord serve me with eviction notice that is not real and can she board up the house and not give me my property is that legal

    • Amanda

      If the landlord has acted specifically as you have outlined in your question, these acts are indeed illegal, possibly even criminal (e.g. fraud for fake eviction order). I would recommend immediately consulting with a local attorney or filing an emergency petition at your local courthouse.

      • Helena

        I want to rent a home but I run an inhome daycare and it seems that no one wants to rent to me because of this. Can they legally refuse to rent to me based off of this and do I have to have their permission to run a daycare in the home if I do rent from them?

  • Tammi

    My apt complex flooded duty to there renovation . Now they want me to find someplace to stay while ther redo my apt. I cant aford this

  • Kody Kerschner

    Is landlord able to hand me a paper stating how much my rent is for the month and tell me I have 24 hours to pay it not knowing that amount prior to receiving the paper?

  • Kaylee Scheuermann

    I moved out of my apartment and they have me pay the whole months rent even though my move out date was on the 12th of the month. My deposit was $375 and my rent was $840. They kept all but $270 of it for “damages” such as, carpet cleaning, painting, replacing blinds and trash removal. Is that allowed??

  • melissa trout

    after paying a pet deposite n renting for 2.5 yrs from our landlord
    can he make me get rid of my dogs when they haven’t done anything wrong

  • Rita Ortez

    Is it unconstitutional for the city to impose a new reg.that each landlord must get a rental permit for each home they rent and Reguires a physical inspection of the home vacant or occupied

  • BBrooks

    We signed our new lease June 28. Landlord was to make a copy and drop it off. I have asked 3 times for this copy w a couple times saying he would drop it off the last he won’t even respond. We had a bat so he had ccat come, yep bats in attic so scheduled that to be done, I took off work for this the day no one showed up so I called to check. He cancelled cause he didn’t have money for it and didn’t even tell us. Per the new lease heat was supposed to be installed upstairs by End of September which when we moved in we didn’t know there was no heat source till the first winter came. Here it is Sept 29, he has two days to get the heat installed and has had 3 months to get us a copy of the lease. If the heat is not installed can I break my leas

  • adam harris


    According to Iowa law, how long can a landlord legally hold one’s rent check? Does it depend on the time set up by the management company?

  • Brookelynn Barclay

    My landlord never made me sign a lease… Since one is not signed can she kick me out whenever, and what does it mean for a deposit? Does she still have to give me a written letter if she is withholding it?

  • Cori

    It’s November 12th and we don’t have heat!!! What can we do, because we have a 4 year old!!!

  • Melanie Klausner

    I am moving out and my 30 day ends on the 11 of the next month. My landlord say I have to pay the full rent for that month. Then leased my apartment before the 30 days is up. Can I force me to pay the next months rent and also lease the apartment to another person at the same time.

  • Renee

    I live in Iowa. My roommate is on the lease marked as a caretaker. I have a special needs child and I am on disability due to depression and anxiety. )My roommate has done nothing but picked up meds once for me out of the 2 years she’s been here. If she moves out does that break my lease even if I stay ?

  • Judith Sisco

    Can I sue the apartment complex if I fall On Ice they have not taken care of? I live in Iowa.

  • Yelena

    Is my landlord who is on the lease (im her resident) im not on the lease but i have lived there 2-3 months) allowed to change locks while im in jail even thoe i never abandoned the property. All. My stuff is there. Or is that called self help eviction and lock out?

  • Elizabeth Eberly

    I live in a trailer park where tenants must own their mobile home (i.e.; can’t rent a trailer). Original lot lease of 7/2015 made landlord responsible for water, trash, mowing, & snow removal. Tenants were responsible for other utilities & mandatory homeowner’s insurance. In 2019, lot rent was raised 2x’s, from 220/mo to 300, & in Nov, we got a notification the park had been sold. New leases must be signed Jan, or move (altho’ our 2019 lease should’ve run ’til 8/20). W/new lease, rent was raised again (to 328) & an 18/mo garbage charge added. Also added a clause that tenants must have not only homeowners insurance but also $50,000 general liability coverage for the homesite. Is this legal; making tenants insure the landlord’s property?

  • nick

    i am land lord who want to sell his house supposed to close on april 17th do not have year lease with tenant have month to month but. shes signed paper she wil be out 12th of april but she hasn’t started moving and wont move stuff out of garage to do repairs. what so i do i might lose sale of house and governor of Iowa is restricted evictions during covid 19

  • Myhippie

    Okay, so my roommate who is on the lease, yesterday without warning decided to pack her stuff up and move out. Without paying for rent witch is due in 8 days. Is there any legal way to nake her pay for her portion of the rent? Or at least take her off the lease. My appartment complex wont let me tale her off.

  • Tushar Patil

    I have signed a lease of 10 month with my current landord in Iowa state, which is getting over on July 31st 2020. Per lease t&c says, I need to give 60 days notice before vacating apartment. Today, When I have given notice of 30 days for vacating the apartment as of July 31st, my landlord remind me about 60 days notice period signed per contract. Per Iowa State Landlord and Tenant law for dwelling units, Section 562A.34(3) for terminating a tenancy with a term a longer than month-to-month minimum notice required at least 30 days prior to end of the first or subsequent term of the tenancy specified in the notice. My landlord is pushing me for giving 60 days notice instead of 30 days else will file for liquidated damages. What option left?

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