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Clear and Present Danger Evictions in Iowa

Updated on
January 25, 2021
Article written by
Eugene Nassif

In Iowa, a landlord can evict a tenant if the landlord believes the tenant is creating a situation which places others in danger. The danger must be some sort of threat to the health and safety of other tenants, the landlord, the landlord’s employees or others. The threat must occur within 1,000 feet of the landlord’s property. Evicting a tenant due to this threat of danger is referred to as a “Clear and Present Danger” eviction. 

 

In this article, we answer the following questions about clear and present danger evictions in Iowa: 

  • Examples of Clear and Present Dangers for Eviction Cases
  • How to Present a Clear and Present Danger Eviction Notice
  • How Can A Tenant Petition an Eviction? 
  • What Happens at an Eviction Hearing? 

 

Examples of Clear and Present Dangers for Eviction Cases

 

Some examples of Clear and Present Dangers justifying evictions including physical assault, illegal use or possession of weapons, drug possession and various other forms of violent crime. It is worth noting that a tenant can be evicted for both their actions or the actions of one of their guests.  

 

 

How to Present a Clear and Present Danger Eviction Notice

 

Should a landlord believe a tenant has committed an act on the property justifying a Clear and Present Danger Eviction, the landlord will have to serve a 3-day notice to the tenant.  

 

The notice must identify in the notice exactly what actions created the clear and present danger and outline steps the tenant can take to avoid eviction. As noted previously, the actions of a guest may justify eviction due to clear and present danger. In instances where the tenant is a victim of domestic assault, the victim may get the notice for eviction due to the abuser’s actions on the property. To avoid eviction, the tenant can take a number of actions including seeking a protective order or restraining order against the abuser/person who caused the danger, reporting the abuser/dangerous person to police, or writing a letter to the abuser/dangerous person telling them they are no longer allowed on the property. 

 

How Can A Tenant Petition an Eviction? 

 

The tenant has to give the landlord written proof that one of these actions were taken. If the tenant doesn’t do this or doesn’t move out within the 3-day period, the landlord will be able to file a Forcible Entry and Detainer (Eviction) lawsuit. The petition will contain rationale for the eviction as well as a date for the hearing. 

 

If the tenant doesn’t provide proof of these actions to avoid eviction, the judge will make a determination whether to evict the tenant using all evidence presented to them. If the tenant has taken steps to remediate the issue, it is important to bring evidence of the steps taken to remediate the problem to the hearing so that the judge can review it. This includes steps taken outside the 3-day window.  

 

What Happens at an Eviction Hearing? 

 

At the hearing, the judge will ultimately decide if the tenant will be evicted. If the tenant wasn’t aware of the dangerous activity that occurred, or the judge determines the incident wasn’t in fact dangerous the judge may decline to have the tenant evicted. Additionally, if the landlord’s notice didn’t cover everything it is required to under Iowa law, the judge may also decline to have the tenant evicted. In that case, however, the landlord may refile the action with all the necessary information.


Clear and Present Danger Evictions in Iowa
Author

Eugene Nassif

Eugene Nassif is an associate attorney in Des Moines, Iowa. His primary focus is in business and civil litigation matters.

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