Guidelines for Residential Evictions
Section 648 Code of Iowa
Obtaining The Forms
Visit www.homeincdsm.org for sample forms. At the top of the page choose tenant/landlord. Click on services and then "Rental Housing Handbook and Landlord Tenant Notices". Scroll to bottom of page to view samples and generate your form. Please ensure that you use the correct form.
Step 1.) Three Day Notice to Quit or Cure
This form can served:
- personally by the landlord with tenant signature of acceptance included (posting NOT acceptable)
- personally by the Sheriff's Office in which case the landlord is responsible for mailing additional copies, by both certified mail and by regular mail.
- posted by the Sheriff's Office after three failed personal attempts. The landlord is responsible for mailing additional copies, by both certified mail and by regular mail.
Step 2.) Forcible Entry and Detainer
After waiting for seven full days after the service of the Three Day Notice the landlord shall electronically file to obtain the Forcible Entry and Detainer notice forms with the State of Iowa at www.iowacourts.state.ia.us/efile. This notice MUST BE served on the tenant in accordance with the Code of Iowa. Any paperwork received from the State must then be served by the Sheriff's Office. The Landlord will be responsible for also mailing the document regular and certified mail to the tenant.
Step 3.) Forcible Entry and Detainer Hearing
When the Forcible Entry and Detainer is filed a court date will be given that both the landlord and tenant should attend to present their cases. Failure for the landlord to attend this hearing will result in a ruling for the tenant. The landlord should be prepared to present all documentation at this hearing, including the proof of service of the Three Day Notice and the Forcible Entry and Detainer and any other lease agreements, returned checks, photos or correspondence that will assist in presentation of their case.
After hearing the case, the judge will issue a ruling. If the ruling is for the landlord an Order of Removal should be completed and filed with the clerk of court. The landlord needs to print the Writ of Removal from the electronic filing website and present it to the Sheriffs office for service.
When the Writ of Removal arrives at the Sheriff’s Office, the landlord will be contacted by phone to schedule a date for the removal. Once the date is selected a notice will be posted by the Sheriff on the rental property advising the tenant of the removal date and time. This notice must be posted a minimum of three days prior to the removal date.
Step 4.) Removal Date
If the tenant still has not moved the following will occur:
On the date of the removal the landlord and a minimum of three other persons provided by the landlord will meet with the deputy at the property in question. The landlord and his associates are to move all of the tenant’s personal furniture and household items to public right of way as directed by the deputy and the Code of the State of Iowa. The landlord should bring boxes and trash bags to ease in the removal of the tenant’s belongings to the curb. Tools used to disassemble large items and an appliance dolly maybe needed. The landlord must use reasonable care when transferring personal possessions to the public property. If inclement weather occurs immediately prior to the execution of the removal, the removal will be postponed. If inclement weather occurs during the removal, the removal will continue and the landlord must provide a plastic cover for the items.
If the deputy arrives and the tenant will not leave the property, he/she will be advised that failure to do so will result in being arrested for trespassing and the removal of their personal possessions will proceed as described above.
Failure of the landlord to provide adequate help and/or equipment for the removal of the tenant’s personal belongings will result in the deputy postponing the Writ of Removal for three days with the possibility of cancelling the removal entirely.
A landlord or his agent should not change the locks on any rental property until either the tenant has surrendered the keys or the writ of removal has executed.