Iowa
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

It's easy to file Iowa mechanics liens with zlien, the web's leading mechanics lien compliance manager and filing service. Plus, zlien prepares and files Iowa mechanics lien cancellations, preliminary notices, and more. Iowa is a Full Price state. To learn more about Iowa's mechanics lien law, read the frequently asked questions below.

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Iowa

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
On owner-occupied residential projects, must provide notice of lien rights and identity of subs to be used.

Iowa

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
90 Days
For maximum protection lien must be filed within 90 days of last providing materials or labor. Lien may be filed for a period of 2 years after the 90-day deadline, but is only effective as to amounts not yet paid to the general contractor. Action to enforce must be commenced within 2 years from the expiration of the 90 day period. File your Iowa lien online now.

Iowa

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days
On owner-occupied residential projects, must provide notice of providing labor/materials to owner upon starting work. If a sub-sub on non-residential, must notify prime contractor within 30 days of first furnishing materials.

Iowa

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
90 Days
For maximum protection lien must be filed within 90 days of last providing materials or labor. Lien may be filed for a period of 2 years after the 90-day deadline, but is only effective as to amounts not yet paid to the general contractor. Action to enforce must be commenced within 2 years from the expiration of the 90 day period.File your Iowa lien online now.

Iowa

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days
On owner-occupied residential projects, must provide notice of providing labor/materials to owner upon starting work. If supplying to a sub on non-residential projects, must notify prime contractor within 30 days of first furnishing materials.

Iowa

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
90 Days
For maximum protection lien must be filed within 90 days of last providing materials or labor. Lien may be filed for a period of 2 years after the 90-day deadline, but is only effective as to amounts not yet paid to the general contractor. Action to enforce must be commenced within 2 years from the expiration of the 90 day period. File your Iowa lien online now.

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Complete Guide to Iowa Lien Law

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Iowa Frequently Asked Questions

Iowa Mechanics Lien FAQs

In Iowa, all parties who furnish labor and/or materials to the property owner, the original contractor, or subcontractor are entitled to mechanics lien protection. It is unsettled whether any more remote party, such as suppliers to suppliers, may file a valid mechanics lien.

Iowa is unique in its time requirements for filing a valid mechanics lien. For full protection, an Iowa mechanics lien should be filed within 90 days after the date of last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project. If that deadline is missed, however, all is not lost. Iowa allows a lien to be filed after the 90-day deadline for a period of two years. Note, however, that a lien filed after the expiration of the 90-day period only protects the lien claimant to the extent that the owner has not yet paid the general contractor.

Yes.  Iowa requires that the lien be mailed to the property owner. However, when the lien is filed by posting with Iowa’s mechanics lien registry website, the administrator is required to mail a copy of the lien to the owner for the lien claimant.

Attorney’s fees and other consequential damages should not be included in the lien amount.  However, in a successful action to enforce a mechanics lien, the lien claimant may be awarded reasonable attorney fees by the court.

In Iowa, all lien claimants must initiate the enforcement of the lien within two (2) years and 90 days after the last date on which labor and/or materials were furnished to the project. However, note that a property owner may – by written demand – require the lien claimant to initiate the enforcement action within 30 days.

No. Priority of mechanics liens in Iowa is based generally on the date of the lien filing. Generally speaking, mechanics liens have priority over liens or other encumbrances that arise after the filing of the mechanics lien. Construction mortgage liens are preferred to all mechanics liens based on work initiated subsequent to the date of recording of the construction mortgage lien.

As between multiple mechanics lien claimants, mechanics liens have priority over other mechanics lien based on the date of filing of the statement of account.

Yes. Iowa not only requires a legal description of the property to be charged with the lien, but also requires the address of the property (or a description of the location of the property if there is no address) and the tax parcel identification number. In July 2013, the state amended its mechanics lien law to no longer require simply a “legal description,” but instead now requires a “legal description adequate to describe the property.” This appears to be a lower standard, but courts have not addressed this. See: Iowa’s Mechanics Lien Law Gets Slight Changes; More To Come in 2014?

Yes. Iowa requires that both the mechanics lien and the verified statement of account filed with the mechanics lien be notarized.

Iowa imposes no specific licensing requirement as a prerequisite to the filing of a mechanics lien. However, it is always best to be licensed if a license is required for your work.

Yes. You may file a mechanic’s lien against a condominium project in Iowa, to the extent you are a party otherwise allowed to file a mechanic’s lien.

In Iowa, when a mechanics lien is satisfied by payment of the claim, it is the responsibility of the claimant to acknowledge satisfaction thereof upon the mechanic’s lien book, or otherwise in writing. If the claimant neglects to acknowledge satisfaction of the lien for thirty days after demand in writing is personally served upon the claimant, the claimant is required to pay a small penalty, and is liable to any person injured by the failure to acknowledge the satisfaction to the extent of the injury.

Iowa does not have statutory lien waiver forms; therefore, you can use any lien waiver form. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers.

Iowa state law is unclear or silent about whether contractors and suppliers can waive their lien rights before any work on the project begins. Accordingly, you want to proceed with caution on this subject.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our Iowa Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

Iowa Preliminary Notice FAQs

It depends. Notice requirements in Iowa depend on both the project type and the role of the lien claimant.

Prime Contractors: Must provide a notice to the property owner on an owner-occupied residential project. The notice must state that parties furnishing labor or materials to the project may enforce lien rights, and must include a list (name/address) of all subs to be used on the project. This notice should either be in the original contract, or if the contract is oral, provided to the owner within 10 days of commencing work. This notice should be updated throughout the work when new subs are added.

Subcontractor/Laborer: On an owner-occupied residential project, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work. A sub-sub on a non-residential project must provide notice to the prime contractor within 30 days of furnishing labor or materials.

Supplier: On an owner-occupied residential project, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work. Must provide notice to prime contractor within 30 days of first providing materials if the materials were provided to a sub on a non-residential project.

The prime contractor’s notice to the owner of an owner-occupied residential project should be included in the original contract, or if the original contract is oral, must be provided within 10 days of commencing work.

The subcontractor’s notice to owner on an owner-occupied residential project should be provided when commencing work.

The sub-sub’s notice to prime contractor on a non-residential project must be provided within 30 days of providing labor or materials.

The supplier’s notice to prime contractor on a non-residential project must be provided within 30 days of first providing labor or materials.

It is also important to note that many filings in Iowa will expire after 2 years pursuant to new lien statutes. Read that new provision here: Iowa Code § 572.34(12).

The above notices are required in Iowa, and the failure to send the notices may be fatal to the potential lien claim.

Prime contractor’s notice to owner-occupier on a residential project may be included in the original contract, or delivered to the owner in writing by certified mail. All other notices are delivered through the Iowa mechanics lien registry website.

As defined above, notice may be required to be sent to the prime contractor or the owner.

Notices are considered delivered when posted to the online mechanics lien registry, or when sent.