Iowa Landlord-tenant Laws: A Comprehensive Guide For Renters And Property Owners


Being a landlord is hard enough between tenant management, property upkeep, and the other day-to-day tasks that exhaust your time and effort. On top of that, each state has laws dictating how landlords should run their business. If you’ve ever wondered, “How many lease violations before eviction?” or, “What kind of security deposit regulations should I be aware of?”, your state’s landlord-tenant act has the answers. Here are some of the most important landlord-tenant laws for the state of Iowa.

Required Disclosures

Landlords are required to tell their tenants certain information before that tenant moves into the property. Usually, this information is necessary to keep tenants informed on the unit and to address potential issues before they arise.

In Iowa, landlords must disclose the name and address of the person who is authorized to act on the behalf of the owner or manage the premises. They must also fully disclose and explain utility rates, charges, and services prior to the tenant signing a lease. This is applicable for all utilities besides the ones that the tenant manages themselves.

Landlord tenant laws in Iowa also require that the landlord discloses whether the property is listed in the EPA’s comprehensive environmental response compensation and liability information system. This system ensures that any properties that have been contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants are properly uncontaminated and habitable.

Rent and Fees

As a landlord in Iowa, many policies—such as the amount of rental application fees or grace periods—j are up to you to decide. However, Iowa does have regulations regarding when and how much you can charge tenants in certain circumstances.

For example, in Iowa, late fees are limited to $12 a day for rent payments under $700 and $20 a day for payments above $700. Bounced checks are also subject to a one-time $25 charge.

Tenants also have remedies should the landlord break the lease. If the landlord does not provide a safe and habitable unit or neglects their legal obligations, the tenant can deliver a written notice detailing any noncompliance that affect their health and safety, as well as a statement informing the landlord that the lease will terminate in seven days if the breach is not fixed. The tenant can recover damages, attorney fees, and injunctive relief for landlord negligence unless the noncompliance was due to circumstances beyond the landlord’s control.

Another important fact to know about Iowa law is that rent control is banned in the state. This means no municipality can enact a limit on the price of rent. However, landlords must still inform tenants in writing if they are planning to increase their rent at least 30 days before the increased payment is enacted. Increases may not start any sooner than the expiration date of the original lease, renewal, or extension.


Iowa eviction laws detail the process that the landlord should go through prior to filing for eviction in three different circumstances.

If the tenant has unpaid rent due, the landlord can issue a rent demand notice and give the tenant three days to pay their owed amount or vacate the property.

For lease violations besides nonpayment of rent, the tenant can either cure their violation within seven days or quit the property. If the tenant commits the same violation within six months of the first one, the landlord can issue a seven day notice to quit and refuse the opportunity for the tenant to remedy the violation.

An unconditional notice to quit can be served when the tenant has demonstrated a clear and present danger to the health and safety of other tenants, the landlord, or the property. In this case, the tenant has three days to leave the property and the landlord does not have to provide the opportunity for the tenant to fix their behavior.

Security Deposits

Landlords should specify their policy for security deposit withholdings in their Iowa lease agreement. According to state law, landlords can withhold funds for tenant negligence beyond normal wear and tear or for unpaid rent and other bills. The landlord must provide a statement that details all the amounts that were withheld and give that statement to the tenant with the remainder of their deposit.

Other relevant security deposit laws in Iowa maintain that landlords cannot charge more than two months’ rent for the deposit amount, and that when the deposits are kept in interest-bearing accounts, the landlord must pay the tenant for the interest earned after the first five years of their stay. Landlords must keep deposits in a credit union, bank, or savings and loan association insured by the federal government, and they must return deposits within 30 days after the lease terminates.

It’s always a good idea to keep security deposits separate from personal funds, and in Iowa, landlords are legally required to do so.


Is Iowa the spot for your next rental investment? Be sure to study the laws above and keep up with them to make sure there are no changes that affect you and your business. Remaining informed on state laws as a landlord should be a top priority, so be sure to use the article above to inform your further research.

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