Iowa Landlord Tenant Rights

Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities under Iowa law. Below we breakdown what you need to know before entering into a lease in Iowa.

Landlord Responsibilities

Under Iowa law, landlords have certain responsibilities to their tenants. This includes the duty to provide, address, or maintain the following:

  • Dwelling structures
  • Electricity
  • Plumbing and sanitation
  • Air conditioning
  • Ventilation
  • Garbage removal
  • Water
  • Mold
  • Bed bugs

If a landlord fails to resolve any issue, the tenant may make repairs on their own and deduct the cost from any rent due. The landlord is prohibited from engaging in retaliatory conduct.

Tenant Responsibilities

The tenant likewise has responsibilities to the landlord. These include the duty to:

  • Pay rent in a timely manner
  • Keep the unit in a safe and hazard-free condition
  • Abide by cleanliness standards
  • Make minor repairs and maintenance
  • Comply with building and housing codes
  • Keep all plumbing fixtures in a clean condition
  • Reasonable use of facilities and appliances
  • Not destroying any part of the premises
  • Not disturb any tenants or neighbors

Security Deposit

Iowa law caps allowable security deposit amounts at two months’ rent. The landlord has 30 days to return the deposit minus deductions or they will be held liable for twice the amount.

Rent and Fees

Landlords are free to charge whatever amount they wish for rent. They must give tenants a 30-day notice before raising the rent. If the landlords charge $700 or less in rent, they are limited to a $12 per day late fee, while landlords who charge more are limited to $20 per day.


Landlords have several grounds on which they can evict tenants. These include:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violation of the terms of the lease
  • No lease or the lease has ended
  • Material safety or health violations
  • Illegal actions on the premises

Tenants can legally end their lease early in the following circumstances:

  • Early termination clause
  • Active military duty
  • The unit is uninhabitable
  • Landlord harassment
  • The lease contains illegal terms

Landlords have a duty to mitigate damages by re-renting the premises; however, if re-renting is not possible, the tenants will be held liable for the rent amount of the remainder of the lease.

Lease Termination Notice

If the landlord is evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent, they must issue a 3-day Notice to Pay before proceeding to eviction proceedings.

If the grounds for eviction are a violation of lease terms, the tenant will be given a 7-day notice to fix the issue followed by a 3-day notice if the issue isn’t resolved. If the rental term is for a fixed period, no notice is needed.

If the lease has ended or there isn’t a lease and the tenant does not vacate the unit, the landlord is required to issue a 10-day notice for week-to-week tenants, a 30-day notice for month-to-month tenants, or a 30-day notice for tenancies that have longer lengths of terms.

If the landlord is evicting the tenant for a material safety or health violation, they should issue the tenant a 7-day notice to fix the issue before proceeding to a 3-day notice. If the tenant has committed illegal acts within 1,000 feet of the premises, the landlord can issue a 3-day notice to quit.

Relevant State Agencies

Iowa Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Des Moines:




Cedar Rapids:








Official Rules and Regulations

Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act