If you want to secure your right to payment for the projects you work on, knowing your state’s lien laws is the first step. With individual rules for every state, however, it can be a bit confusing to figure out which set of lien laws belongs to the state you work in. We’re here to take away the complexity and confusion and give it to you straight. If you work in Iowa and need to know the construction lien laws, this is the site for you. Here, we break down exactly what the state of Iowa requires for you to properly file a valid lien and bond claim.

How to File a Lien in Iowa: 

  • You can waive your lien rights in a contract in Iowa.
  • Pre-lien notices and liens must be filed online with the Iowa Secretary of State.

Liens on Commercial Projects in Iowa: 

  • You must send Place 1* Contractor written notice of supplying labor and/or materials within 30 of first supplying. 
  • You must file the lien with the Secretary of State within ninety (90) days of last work.
  • You can file a lien after ninety (90) days, but you must send notice to the Owner, Place 1* Contractor, and whoever hired you. 
  • If you file after ninety (90) days, your lien is only valid to the extent that there are funds due to the Place 1* Contractor. 
  • You must file suit to enforce your lien within two (2) years from the ninety (90) days after the last work was performed and/or material supplied.  
  • If you are served with a demand to enforce your lien, you must file suit within thirty (30) days.

Liens on Residential Projects in Iowa: 

  • You must do all things required under the Commercial Projects section along with: 
    • The Place 1* Contractor must file electronically a commencement of work notice with the Secretary of State, within ten (10) days of commencing work.
    • You will only have lien rights to the extent that the Place 1* Contractor is owed money when you send your notice.
    • All forms are available at the Iowa Secretary of State website: https://sos.iowa.gov/business/FormsAndFees.html#MNLR 

How to Have a Valid Bond Claim in Iowa:

  • You must file your claim within thirty (30) days of final completion of the project.
  • In addition to a bond claim, you can also claim a lien on the retained funds due to the Contractor.
  • You must file suit to enforce your claim within sixty (60) days of final completion. You cannot file suit before thirty (30) days of final completion. But if you get a letter demanding that you file suit, you must do so within thirty (30) days.
  • For county highway projects and farm-to-market fund highway systems, claims must be filed with the County Auditor and the Auditor or the State Department of Transportation.

If you work in Iowa, be sure you take note of the laws listed above so you can be certain that, next time you’re filing your liens, they’re valid. If you’d like someone else to take care of filing your construction lien or bond claim, and do it the right way, contact a professional Iowa lien lawyer who is experienced with construction law. Our sister company, The Cromeens Law Firm, has a lien and collections team ready to take care of it for you. Take care of your business and ensure you get paid what you are owed.

*The “places” referenced in the rules above correlate to the Construction Food Chain Chart from Karalynn Cromeens’ book,
Quit Getting Stiffed. The chart can be found here to use when following these lien and bond rules.