More than 2 years ago, I asked whether Utah’s SCR (State Construction Registry) was a model for the rest of the nation. The Iowa legislature answered my question this month, with a resounding Yes.  Iowa’s House File 675 has now passed the state’s house and senate, and appears to be heading to the governor for signature. The law creates an online database for mechanics lien filings.

The bill’s summary provides as follows:

An Act concerning mechanics’ liens including the establishment of a state construction registry for residential construction property, and including effective date and applicability provisions.

House File 675 makes very, very drastic changes to Iowa’s mechanics lien laws. By far the largest change is the creation of a State Construction Registry which will be managed by Iowa’s Secretary of State. The construction registry contemplated appears to be a mix of the SCR utilized in Utah, and the electronic UCC database already managed by Iowa’s Secretary of State. All in all, this change should be an improvement to the state’s lien laws, and it should make filing a mechanics lien in Iowa easy and more affordable.

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Aside from the creation of a construction registry, the bill proposes a few other changes including:

  • Defining “general contractor” so that a party is not considered a general contractor if they contract with an “owner-builder.”
  • Creating a requirement for general contractor or owner-builder, as the case may be, to file a Notice of Commencement with the state construction registry
  • Creating a preliminary notice requirement for all “subcontractors”

In the coming weeks, we’ll analyze the new Iowa law in more detail.  The law takes effect on July 1, 2012.  You can read the full text of the amended statute here.  Also, the Iowa House Republicans published a really useful “Staff Analysis” of the bill, which gives a section by section analysis.