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Read further to learn more about the eviction process in Iowa and how many days’ notice are required in which situations.
What’s an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice is a legal form of disclosure that lets a tenant know that they are in clear violation of their lease agreement, and either need to correct the issue or vacate the premises. Sometimes, a standard fixed-term lease doesn’t always work out, and when this is the case, rather than deal with the loss of potential rental income, a lessor can opt to begin eviction proceedings. The state of Iowa is not a state that allows “self-help” evictions, which means that any landlord looking to evict a tenant cannot merely change the locks or shut off utilities. To seek a remedy to a negative rental relationship, the only recourse is to file a Notice to Quit, which is the first step towards finding a way to mend the rental situation.
One of these notices is designed to present the renter with a means to either remedy the negative aspects that are causing the issue or vacate the premises. Here are a few typical reasons to file one of these documents:
- The tenant has violated the lease terms in some way: This can mean that the tenant has a pet in a pet-free unit, smokes on the premises when it’s forbidden, or simply violates noise rules on the property. If these are clearly stated in the original lease, then the landlord can opt to file a notice.
- The rent isn’t being paid on time: When a renter is in a rental relationship with an owner, it’s to be understood that rent should be paid on time. While there are many reasons why this can be the case, a rental relationship is predicated on timeliness. A Notice to Quit document is a great way to alert the lessee that the rent that’s missing needs to be paid or they will need to vacate the premises. If they opt to pay, then the relationship is effectively mended.
- Illegal activity has been observed on the property: Sometimes, drug use or sales happen on the property, and since these are illegal activities, these are grounds for eviction. Additionally, if a tenant or a tenant’s guest is presenting a clear and present danger to the property or other tenants, then a three-day notice can be filed. It’s important to note that Iowa state laws stipulate that any illegal activity will have to be done within 1,000 feet of the unit to be grounds for eviction.
In this state, there are several types of notices that can be delivered to the tenant that can lead to an eviction. As a rule, if the tenant doesn’t answer the notice in some way, then the renter can be forcefully and legally evicted from the property. In many of these situations, the lessee can opt to repair the situation.
When is Rent Considered Late by the State of Idaho?
Iowa state law asserts that rent is due on the day that the lease establishes it needs to be paid. Any delivery of the rent after this period can result in a three-day notice of late payment of rent.
Types of Eviction Notices
The state of Iowa has several types of notices to consider when the eviction process is selected. Here are a few to consider:
In Iowa, there are two three-day notices. The first is a three-day notice of nonpayment of rent, which is the document that’s sent out after three days have elapsed past the rental due date. Once served, the landlord must allow for three days for the tenant to pay what’s owed. The second type is a three-day Notice to Quit when there’s a clear and present danger. If there is a behavior where the tenant endangers the property or other tenants, then this notice can be filed. It’s important to note that the landlord will have to provide proof of the behavior.
When it comes to the seven-day notices, there are also two variants. The first is a Seven-Day Notice to Cure Lease Violations. This type of notice can encapsulate both standard violations of the lease terms as well as non-payment situations. With one of these, it’s understood that the tenant still has the right to improve the situation by either paying what’s owed or correcting the situation. The second type is called a Seven-Day Notice of Lease Termination with no Right to Cure. As one might expect, this type of notice is designed to let the tenant know that the landlord is attempting to prevent future tenancy. Both merely will usually have to be adjudicated in court.
Notices for Month-to-Month Tenancies
This type of notice can be issued by both tenants and landlords and merely presents to the other party the intention to make the unit in question vacant. This can be a result of the tenant finding better accommodations or the result of a landlord wishing to find other tenants. With one of these, the state of Iowa requires a 30-day notice period for both parties.
For the sake of legality, these notices must be furnished to the tenant. In the case of clear and present danger notices, there may not be an expectation of the tenant to remedy the reason for the notice, which means that the landlord is merely looking to end the rental relationship. Other reasons can be rectified in most situations should the tenant agree. In all situations, the landlord can serve the document via a server or via certified mail.
Should the tenant not respond adequately, the landlord can proceed to seek a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action. This will be done in small claims court, and in the state of Iowa, this claim and all of its associated documents will have to be filed electronically. After this has been filed, the detainer action will need to be served via a process server and signed by a tenant. This can also be sent via certified mail.
Once received, the court will set a hearing date, and the landlord will have to provide evidence that the Notice to Quit has been served as well as any other pertinent paperwork. It’s important to note that the court can still come to a decision in the tenant’s favor. If a judgment in support of the lessor is reached, then the tenant also has the option to appeal.
How to Write a Notice to Quit
It’s possible to write one of these documents, but the landlord must be certain that all of the prerequisite sections are included:
Have Copies of all of the Appropriate Paperwork
A landlord will need to have a copy of the original lease so that any pertinent information that identifies the rental arrangement is available.
The Intended Recipient and the Definition of the Lease
One of the most critical parts of a document like this is the section that identifies the original lease signer. For this reason, the name of the signer needs to match how it appears on the original lease; this is useful for the courts as well as any process servers.
Once this information is compiled, the details of the lease will need to be established. This should start with all of the pertinent information about the property. Start with the street address, the unit number, the county, any side streets, and the zip code information. Finally, the signature date of the lease should be noted.
Inform the Tenant About the Reason for the Notice
This next part is critical so that the lessee understands why the Notice to Quit is being furnished. Here are four reasons that should be outlined should they be relevant to the situation:
- Non-payment: This section will alert the tenant that they owe the owner or management company for late rent. The section can begin with, “Within three days, you shall pay to the undersigned or an authorized agent the sum of…”
- Non-compliance: Similarly, this type of notice should be used if the tenant has violated the letter of the lease. It should begin with, “Within seven days, you shall remedy the violation described as ____. This is in non-compliance with your lease agreement. You shall notify the landlord by the end of the notice period that the violation has been cured or quit and deliver the possession of the premises.”
- Clear and Present Danger: For those situations where the tenant is presenting a danger to the other tenants or to the property, the Notice to Quit should include the terms, “Within three days, quit and deliver possession of the premises due to a clear and present danger committed on the premises.” The danger can then be described.
- End of Month-to-Month Tenancy: For termination of a lease for a month-to-month tenancy, either the lessee or the lessor can include a section that says, “I am your landlord (or tenant) and this is the official notice that the lease will be terminated on…” It’s important to note that there will be a 30-day notice period.
Finally, for these notices to be deemed legal, verification of the receipt of the notice will have to be provided. The process server must complete the “Certificate of Delivery” by having the recipient sign the document. There should also be three sections that verify whether the notice was delivered successfully, left with an adult second party, or mailed by First Class Mail.