Eviction for Non-Payment of Rent

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
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Information about the eviction process.

"This month, I couldn't pay my rent on time.  I just got a call from my landlord who said I have 3 days to get out but I have nowhere else to go.  What can I do?"

A tenant who does not pay rent on time may get a notice from the landlord.  Iowa law requires:

  • The notice must be in writing.
  • The notice has to say the lease will end if rent is not paid within 3 days.
  • The notice has to be properly served to you.
  • This 3-day period gives you a "right to cure" by paying the rent within those 3 days.
  • If you pay the full amount of rent in 3 days, the landlord cannot legally evict you.


If you cannot pay the rent within 3 days, you do not have to move out right away.  The landlord must first file an eviction action in court.  Only a judge can lawfully evict a tenant.

  • 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
    • OR
    • apply online at

    If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, you can 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.


Last Review and Update: Jan 21, 2021

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