Yes, a contract to lease is binding in Iowa. There are two ways to make a lease legally binding in this state. The first is to have the lease signed by both parties.
But both signatures are not required. If the landlord doesn’t sign the lease, the act of accepting rent has the same effect as signing the lease. Similarly, if a tenant doesn’t sign the lease but pays rent and moves onto the property, it has the same effect as signing the lease.
However, if a rental agreement is created in this way, it cannot last for more than one year (IA Code § 532A.10 (2019)).
The information for this answer was found on our Iowa Residential Lease Agreement answers.