Does Iowa's Landlord-Tenant Act Cover You and Your Landlord?

(Section 562A.5, Code of Iowa)

Iowa's landlord-tenant law, the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Law, applies to the usual situation where a person or household of people rent a house or apartment to live in. But a few situations are not covered by this law.

Each of the following arrangements is NOT included in the coverage of this law:

  • Transitional Housing (temporary, nonpermanent housing) run by a nonprofit organization is not covered under Iowa's landlord-tenant law. But, tenants in transitional housing still have some rights. For example, if a tenant in transitional housing for the homeless is going to be evicted, federal law may give some protection. HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) rules (which apply to many transitional housing projects) say that people should be evicted only in the most severe cases. HUD rules also say that the landlord has to give a clear notice of the reasons and must give the tenant a chance for administrative review. 24 C.F.R. §583.300(i). In addition, housing discrimination laws would still apply to transitional housing. Iowa's eviction law, Chapter 648, applies to transitional housing only in certain circumstances. It is possible that a tenant in transitional housing may be able to be removed with no notice or court hearing.
  • Renting a mobile home space in a mobile home park. The rental of a space to put a tenant's mobile home is covered by Chapter 562B of the Code of Iowa, not by the landlord-tenant act. (But the landlord-tenant act does cover a tenant's rental of the mobile home itself, as opposed to the rental of a space to put the tenant's own mobile home in.)
  • Living in an institution, as part of a program of medical or old age care, educational or religious training, or the like. (Examples: Most nursing homes or college dormitory arrangements.)
  • Living in a place which you are buying, as opposed to renting.
  • Staying in a hotel or motel on your way someplace else.  If you are living in the hotel or motel as your primary residence, you should be covered by the landlord-tenant law.
  • Living in a place provided by a tenant's employer, where the tenant is to live there only as long as the tenant continues working in and around the living quarters.
  • Living in a house or apartment occupied primarily for agricultural purposes.

Although there are other very narrow exceptions to what this law covers, the list above covers the main ones.

REMEMBER Even if your living arrangement is not covered by this law, there are other laws which do apply to your situation, and you may wish to talk to your lawyer, or read the laws themselves to get help with your special problem.

Any tenant with problems involving an eviction should see an attorney for advice.

Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 


To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:

  • Call 800-532-1275. 
  • Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161.
  • Apply online at


If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.


*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice

Last Review and Update: Apr 19, 2021
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