Have you ever rented an apartment or home? There is a big chance you have, whether it is your current living situation or a prior living situation. While every landlord hopes that the person living on their property will follow all of the rules, there may be times where the situation turns for the worse. In these situations, the landlord will probably consider evicting the tenant. Eviction processes are different throughout the nation, making it important to know your rights as a landlord or a tenant when renting a home or apartment.
Some reasons as to why a person may be evicted include having a violation of the lease, not paying rent without prior, written notice or that the person or a guest of theirs created a clear and present danger in the household. A clear and present danger is anything that could put someone – whether it is neighbors, the landlord or others – in any form of dancer, such as possession of illegal drugs or firearms or the threat or act of physical violence. Something important to note is that a person renting an apartment or home cannot be evicted as a form of retaliation, which could include the tenant complaining to inspectors about health cold, or complaining about unsafe living conditions to the landlord.
The eviction process in Iowa follows property laws, meaning that notices must be filed and served to the people living on your property in regards to the living situation. What might be known as a “self-help eviction”, meaning you simply change the locks and keep the tenants out of the residence, are illegal in the state of Iowa.
The eviction process normally proceeds as such:
Giving Residents a Written Notice
The landlord is required to give notice to the tenants about the eviction process. Some examples of this include a 30-day lease termination notice, a 7-day notice for a lease violation, or a 3-day notice for not paying rent or a clear or present danger on the premise. It’s important to note that if the lease violation is cured or rent is paid back within the notice period, the notice can be waived. If the same problem happens again within a 6 month period of the first notice, the landlord can again issue a termination notice.
Proceed with the Eviction Process
If the landlord decides to proceed with the process, the tenant is required to be notified no fewer than three days before a hearing. This notice can be served by hand or by posting the notice on the door. Certified mail is also acceptable.
Present the Case to a Judge
The landlord and tenant are both given the chance to present information in front of a judge in small claims court. We recommend having a lawyer to help represent you in your case, no matter which role you find yourself in. It’s best to be prepared with all of the facts – the good, the bad and the ugly. You want to make sure that you have the right information and the right people to back you up in front of the judge.
If the Landlord Wins…
There is a chance that the judge could evict the tenants immediately, but it is more likely that they will be given a few days to pack their stuff and find new accommodations. The judge may also recommend that an officer oversee the removal of the tenants and their belongings to make sure that nothing is damaged or taken from the premises that don’t belong to those being evicted.
If the Tenant Wins…
If the tenant happens to win their case, the landlord can file a new eviction case once notice has been served to the residents of the home. This will restart the entire process from the beginning.
Our team at Fankhauser Rachel, PLC has the experience to help guide you through an eviction process. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, we will make sure that you are well prepared with the facts and the support to help guide you through the case. If you or someone you know is in the process of filing an eviction notice or going to small claims court, please contact us to schedule your consultation with our team.