1. Notice for Non-Payment of Rent
If rent is not paid when due, the landlord must deliver a "NOTICE TO CURE OR QUIT" (Three-Day Notice form) to the tenant. This notice must state that the rent is due but unpaid, and the landlord intends to terminate the Rental Agreement in three (3) days if the rent is not paid. We do have the Three-Day Notice forms in the Sheriff's Office, your attorney, or download below.
Notice to cure or quit needs to be served by one of the following methods:
Notice can be hand delivery to the tenant or resident that is at least 18 years old. The tenant or resident must sign and date the notice confirming that they have received it.
Notice can be posted on the tenant’s door. If posting on the door, landlord must also send out a copy by certified mail and regular mail. Landlord must save receipts from the post office showing that the notice was mailed. The notice is considered served 4 days after the notice is deposited in the mail and postmarked. Therefore, do not begin counting the 3 days to cure or quit until after the 4 days for mail has elapsed. For example, the notice is mailed and posted on the 2nd of the month. The 4 days for mail would be the 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th. The 3 days to cure would be the 7th, 8th, & 9th. Landlord would be able to file their eviction on the 10th.Notice can be served by personal service either by a process server or the Scott County Sheriff. An affidavit of service will be provided to the landlord after completion of service.
When counting days, do not count the day notice is received by the tenant(s). Count all days including weekends and holidays. However, if the last day falls on a Sunday or holiday the tenant should be given the following day to comply. Do not proceed to file a forcible entry and detainer suit until the time allotment has passed. When in doubt, give more time.
This procedural information is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. This information may not address all situations that may occur. Any legal questions should be referred to an attorney.
2. Notice to Terminate Tenancy for Any Other Reasons
If the landlord wishes to terminate tenancy for any other reason and is not familiar with applicable landlord tenant laws, THEY SHOULD SEEK LEGAL ADVICE.
3. Forcible Entry & Detainer
All notices to terminate must be followed up by serving a FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER NOTICE (FED), which is obtained from the Clerk of Court. This sets a court date for the landlord and the tenant to appear in court. The landlord will be requesting an immediate eviction. The landlord must have all copies of previous notices in the court file to have them available to present at court.
All landlords are required to call the Sheriff’s Office at (563) 326-8627 on Friday at 1:00 PM to find out if their FED was served personally or posted.
If the FED is personally served by the Sheriff’s Office by Friday at 1:00 p.m. the court date will be the date assigned on the FED.
If the FED notice is not personally served by the Sheriff’s Office by 1:00 p.m. on Friday, the Sheriff’s Office will change the court date to the following week and will post the notice on the door of the rental property. If the Sheriff’s Office posts the notice the landlord MUST also change the court date and send the FED notice by regular mail and certified mail to the tenant, no later than midnight Friday night.
If certified mail is required and the landlord fails to do so, the FED would have to be posted a 2nd time with a new court date. Failure to do so could mean changing the hearing date to the next court date, two weeks later.
4. Writ of Possession
When the Clerk of Court receives a ruling on a Forcible Entry & Detainer action in your favor, you will need to request that the Clerk issue a Writ of Possession to the Sheriff. IT WILL NOT BE DONE AUTOMATICALLY. The Sheriff's Office requires an advance deposit fee of $30.00.
The Sheriff's Office will be delivering a copy of the Writ along with a posting order stating the date of the eviction to the address of the defendant. We require that this be done at least some time during the day before the eviction. It is not necessary to serve this order on the defendant, as we will post it on the door if no one is available.
The day of the eviction, we will expect the plaintiff or his agent to check the location to see it the defendant has vacated voluntarily. Please call our office to either confirm or cancel the eviction. Contact the Sheriff's Office, Civil Division, at (563) 326-8625 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays) to schedule an eviction time. We will not respond until we hear from you. If you discover that the defendant has vacated previous to the eviction date, please inform our office so we can use that time for other purposes.
At the time of the eviction, we will expect the plaintiff to provide enough manpower to complete the eviction in approximately one hour. We recognize that unusual situations requiring some more time will occur occasionally. The process must be completed by 4:00 p.m. and will be scheduled with that goal in mind. Our function is to provide the authority, keep the peace, and direct the procedure.
We also request that the plaintiff provide enough boxes and large trash bags to facilitate efficient moving of property. If heavy rain or snow is imminent, it is suggested that sheets of plastic be used to cover the property to prevent unnecessary damage. The eviction will only be postponed because of more severe weather conditions. If a waterbed needs to be drained we may request that you bring a pump in the interest of time. If a refrigerator or freezer is involved, we will expect the plaintiff to secure the appliance so a child will not have access or remove the door.
We will have the plaintiff move the property to the area where garbage pickup is done. We expect the plaintiff to remove all property/garbage from the location. We will not get involved in determining what is valuable and what is not. If the defendant vacates voluntarily, it is up to the plaintiff to decide if they want to have our office stand by while any remaining property is removed. If the eviction procedure is canceled, the plaintiff accepts any liability for property left behind.
General Eviction Information for Landlords
Many landlords have questions about how the eviction process works in Iowa. This document is intended to answer some of those questions by explaining how the process generally works. This is not a replacement for legal advice because there are many technical issues that may arise, as well as current codes and rulings that are constantly changing. Advice from an attorney is always recommended.
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