Evicting a tenant is never easy, and having to evict one for not paying their rent can be especially hard if you know why they are not able to pay it. From one state to another, the laws are fairly clear about what can be done and Iowa is no exception to that rule. If you are a landlord in Iowa and facing this kind of eviction, here is a quick guide to the process.
Knowing when rent is due
In Iowa, this is easy since rent is almost always due on the first of the month - even if the first falls on a weekend or is a holiday. While it is a nice thing to give your tenants a grace period (and some states even require it), you do not have to. Unless there is a grace period stipulated in the lease agreement, you can start the eviction process within twenty-four hours of non-payment.
Giving your tenant notice
As a part of the eviction proceedings, you have to give your tenant a three-day notice for nonpayment. The state of Iowa requires you to include the following in a three-day notice:
- The date you are serving the notice
- The tenant's name and address
- The total rent that is due/owed to you as the landlord
- A statement that the tenant owes rent and must pay it within three days
- A certificate of service stating how the notice was delivered.
When it comes to delivering the notice, you have the option to either deliver it yourself or send it to your tenant through certified mail.
After your tenant still has not paid
If your tenant still has not paid the amount due three days after receiving notice, you have the ability to file an eviction lawsuit with the county your rental unit is in, and to terminate the lease agreement. The county will set a court date, and you and your tenant will be given the opportunity to plead your cases before a judge.
After the lawsuit
If the judge decides in favor of an eviction, there is nothing more you need to do. At this point, a sheriff will be given the authority to evict your tenant. Attempting a self-help eviction (i.e. shutting down the utilities or changing the locks) is more likely to get you sued by your tenant than to get your tenant out any earlier.
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