Frequently Asked Questions

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Civil Division - Frequently Asked Questions



*What are the hours of the Dallas County Sheriff's Civil Division?

Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. -4:30 P.M.

*How long will it take the Sheriff’s Office to serve my documents?

We need 14 days to complete civil service from the time the documents arrive in our office.


* What is a small Claims?

According to the state of Iowa code a small claim is any claim under $5000.00. No attorney is required for filing or representing oneself in a small claims action.


*How do I start a small claims action?

Contact the Clerk of Court for the appropriate forms to be completed and filed with the court.


* What do I need to have papers served?

The following information is required to request a civil service:

Full name and current address of both the plaintiff & defendant is required. Phone and contact information, including place of employment of the defendant is also helpful.

Additional information - vehicle description and work hours can be helpful.



*Where can I get information on Sheriff Sales?

All Sheriff's sales are published in one local newspaper and posted in three public locations and can be accessed on our website under Sheriff's sales.


*If I am interested in bidding at a Sheriff Sale what do I need to do?

You must appear in person at the time of the sale and have a letter of credit from a bank and/or lending institution. A written bid will be submitted from the plaintiff/plaintiff s attorney on the subject property and will be the opening bid. If you are the successful bidder a $100 cash deposit will be required at the time of the sale. A cashiers check for the total amount after the bid must be returned to the Sheriff's office by 4:00 PM the day of the sale and at this time the $100 will be returned. If you do not return with the bid amount the plaintiff has the option sue you for the amount of your bid and the $100 will be forfeited for costs of resale.

Note: The Dallas County Sheriff's Office does not provide any warranty or guarantee on the condition or repair of the property or buildings on the property. All bidders should research any other liens, easements, property lines, encumbrances and limitations on the property. The properties are sold strictly "as is" for the plaintiff listed on the sale notice. Any legal questions regarding title, liens, etc. should be directed to your legal counsel.


* Why is a Sheriffs sale canceled?

A Sheriff's sale can be canceled by a plaintiff's attorney for numerous reasons that are not disclosed to the Sheriff's Office. A property can reappear on the Sheriff's sale at future dates. Monitor monthly sheriff's sales for this action.


* Why is a Sheriff's Sale postponed?

Per the Code of the State of Iowa a Sheriff's sale may be postponed by either the plaintiff's attorney or the Sheriff. A new date of sale will be announced at the time of the original sale.


* Can I access a property prior to sale?

No access is granted prior to a Sheriff's sale. Sales are strictly sight unseen.


* How do I find out who purchased a property at Sheriff's sale?

Refer to the Sheriff's website for the corresponding month of the sale for purchaser information and sale price. 

*If my property is purchased at a sale, when do I have to be out?

The successful bidder takes possession of the property upon payment in full to the Sheriff's Office on the day of the sale. Govern yourself accordingly.