A mechanic’s lien can be filed on a residential property by a general contractor or subcontractor to secure payment for labor and materials furnished on the property. However, just because a contractor or subcontractor files a lien on your residential property, does not mean the lien is enforceable.
In order to file an enforceable lien, a general contractor first needs to properly post a notice of commencement of work to the mechanic notice and lien registry internet site no later than ten days after the commencement of work on the residential property; the Iowa Code sets out specific information that this notice must contain. The mechanic notice and lien registry internet site is available at https://sos.iowa.gov/mnlr/search/search.aspx. A general contractor who fails to provide this notice cannot file an enforceable lien.
A subcontractor also needs to file proper notices to the mechanic notice and lien registry before a subcontractor’s lien is enforceable. In order to have an enforceable lien, a subcontractor must file a preliminary notice. Once a preliminary notice is filed, the mechanic notice and lien registry will send a notice to the owner of the residential property. If the subcontractor files a mechanic’s lien, the subcontractor’s recovery is limited to the balance due to the general contract at the time the owner received the notice sent by the mechanic notice and lien registry. A subcontractor who fails to post a preliminary notice is not entitled to a lien on a residential property.
These are just some of the requirements general contractors and subcontractors must follow before a lien on a residential property is enforceable. If you are facing a lien, it is important to talk to an attorney to decide your legal obligations to pay the lien and your options to have the lien removed.
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