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August 2000

IT'S FARM LEASE EXTENSION/TERMINATION TIME

Sept. 1st is deadline for most notifications.

We are rapidly approaching the end of August and the annual notice deadline for renewing or ending farm leases. Iowa law sets out the specific steps landlords and tenants must follow in order to provide legal notice for termination of existing leases.

Termination Notice Needed by September 1st

Generally speaking, if farm tenants occupy and cultivate forty acres or more, the lease tenancy continues beyond the agreed term for the following crop year on the same terms and conditions as the original lease unless written notice of termination is served upon either party. This applies to both oral and written leases. It usually does not apply to leases involving pasture land. In the case of tenants occupying and cultivating farms, notice of termination must fix the termination date of the tenancy as March 1.

If there is a clear agreement otherwise fixing the termination date of the tenancy, whether in writing or not, the tenancy ceases on that date without the need for notice of termination.

Methods of Notice of Termination

When required, notice of termination can be legally provided by using any of the following methods on or before September 1st: (1) by personally delivering to the other party to the lease a written notice with the other party receiving, accepting and signing that they received the notice; (2) by having the notice served by the county sheriff or other process server; (3) by publication; or (4) by mailing and completing the service of the notice by certified mail.

Landlords and tenants seeking to terminate farm leases should consult a private attorney to determine whether notice of termination is required and to ensure that any notice is properly served by strictly following one of the methods just described.