Notice of Commencement Requirement
Iowa is one of the relatively few states that has a Notice of Commencement requirement. Unlike some other states in which Notes of Commencement must be filed, however, an Iowa Notice of Commencement is only required on residential projects. Iowa also is unique with respect to the party(ies) responsible for posting the notice. In Iowa, a property owner is a party to whom the Notice of Commencement must be provided, not a party required to make the initial filing. And, since a preliminary notice may not be filed unless an Iowa Notice of Commencement has been filed first, Iowa given subcontractors the authority to file a Notice of Commencement in certain circumstances. Accordingly, every participant on a residential construction project in Iowa has an interest in the Notice of Commencement, and an Iowa Notice of Commencement has an effect on everybody’s mechanics lien rights. This means it’s very important for everybody who works on residential projects in Iowa to have an understanding of what a Notice of Commencement is, and why it matters.
Generally, a Notice of Commencement is a form publicly filed to signify that a construction project is going to begin, or has begun. While Notice of Commencement filing and content requirements are generally similar throughout states in which they are required, Iowa’s Notice of Commencement has some unique features. An Iowa Notice of Commencement form contains information to identify the project participants and the project itself. This notice must be posted in an online portal, and provided to the property owner.
The process is important, and the Iowa Notice of Commencement has significant impacts on payment and lien rights and procedures. While portions of the form, like the tax parcel number of the property to be improved, may require a bit of research, the form overall is fairly simple. An Iowa Notice of Commencement can be filled out directly in the Iowa Mechanic’s Notice and Lien Registry (for those who have an account) or, of course, you can make the NOC process really easy by just filing the document online through a third party.
This page provides frequently asked questions, forms, and other helpful information about Iowa’s Notice of Commencement.
Watch this short video that explains important Notice of Commencement requirements in easy to understand terms.
No. The Notice of Commencement requirement in Iowa is is for the benefit of the property owner, not a requirement of the property owner. In Iowa, the NOC is generally required to be filed by the GC. Property owners and construction lenders do not generally need to file the notice. However, an “owner-builder,” as defined by Iowa statute, is required to post a notice of commencement.
Yes. When an Iowa notice of commencement is posted to the registry, a notice is sent to the property owner. This notice contains specific text informing the property owner of the possibility of liens against the property, or the requirement to pay project participants even if they do not have a direct contract.
In other cases, like commercial projects or public projects, no notice of commencement is required.
For the projects on which a notice of commencement is required, the general contractor must file the notice.
When required, the GC must file the notice of commencement with the Iowa Mechanic’s Notice and Lien Registry, send the notice to the owner, and, if the owner’s address is different than the project address, send a copy of the notice to the project address, as well.
It is very important for Iowa GCs to comply with the NOC rules and requirements, because there are legal consequences for the failure to do so.
However, if the GC fails to post the notice of commencement as required within 10 days of the start of work on the project, Iowa allows a subcontractor or supplier to post the notice of commencement in conjunction with the posting of their required preliminary notice, since an NOC filing is required in order for a preliminary notice to be posted.
Iowa has a strict deadline for GCs to comply with the notice of commencement filing requirements. In Iowa, a GC must post the notice to the online MLNR within 10 days from the commencement of the work. This deadline may not be extended. Note, however, that an Iowa notice of commencement is only effective with respect to any labor, service, equipment, or material furnished to the property subsequent to the posting of the notice, so waiting the full 10 days can result in a loss of rights to protect some of the work performed.
If the 10-day deadline is missed by the GC, a subcontractor or supplier is allowed to file the notice of commencement in order to file their required preliminary notice. While this would require that the NOC not be filed until at least 11 days after commencement of work, it could be filed at any point after that date since preliminary notices should be filed when the sub/supplier begins work.
Iowa law requires that, when applicable, an Iowa notice of commencement must be posted: “to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site” and that the notice “shall be sent to the owner’s address as posted to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site,” and, if the owner’s address is different than the project address, the notice shall also be sent to the project address (addressed to the owner) provided that an address has been assigned to the property by the USPS.
Accordingly, this means that (at least) two distinct steps must be undertaken:
1. Getting it Filed
Iowa requires the use of the state-wide electronic filing system called the Iowa Mechanic’s Notice and Lien Registry. A notice of commencement can be filled out and posted online at the registry’s website, but it requires the construction participant to register for an account to do so. Alternatively, you can also file your Iowa Notice of Commencement electronically here.
2. Send to Owner
The second part of the requirement is that the notice must be sent to the property owner. This can either be one step or two, depending on the property owner’s address. If the property owner’s address is the same as the project address, the notice only needs to be sent there. If the address is different, however, the notice must be sent to both addresses.
Additionally, a “notice of commencement of work is effective only as to any labor, service, equipment, or material furnished to the property subsequent to the posting of the notice of commencement of work.” So, despite the 10-day deadline, a GC’s lien rights can be negatively impacted every day after the start of the project that the notice of commencement remains un-filed.
No. Unlike some other states with strict time limits for the effective period of a Notice of Commencement, there is no specific effective period set forth by Iowa law for a notice of commencement in that state.
Iowa requires the use of an online registry filing system for the filing of Notices of Commencement. Accordingly, there is no notarization requirement with respect to the filing of these notices.
No, there is no specific requirement in Iowa for a notice of commencement to be terminated or released. In fact, there is no specific document available on the MNLR website for the release or termination of a previously posted notice of commencement.
Generally no. The Notice of Commencement requirement in Iowa applies to the GC (or owner-developer). However, subs and suppliers in Iowa are required to post a preliminary notice, and to do so in Iowa, a notice of commencement must have already been posted to be referenced by the preliminary notice.
Accordingly, a sub or supplier can become obligated to post a notice of commencement in order to comply with their own preliminary notice requirement. Iowa statutes allow for this to occur when the GC fails to post the notice of commencement within the 10 day period following the start of the work.
Kind of. While the requirements themselves with respect to the preliminary notice do not change, as noted above, a notice of commencement must be posted in order for a preliminary notice to be posted. Accordingly, until a notice of commencement is posted in the MNLR for a residential project, no preliminary notice requirements can be fulfilled.
For subs and suppliers, the only effect the notice of commencement has with respect to lien rights is the effect it has on the ability to post the required preliminary notice, as defined above. The notice of commencement has no impact on lien rights themselves.
In Iowa, anyone furnishing labor or materials to a construction project has a right to file a mechanics lien if they are unpaid, provided the associated requirements are met. This underlying right, is not affected by the filing (or non-filing) of a Iowa notice of commencement.
The Notice of Commencement requirement in Iowa is specifically limited to certain private works of improvement. Only residential projects are subject to the NOC requirements. Public projects are exempt for the notice of commencement filing and posting requirements.
And, as is universally the case, federal projects are governed by the Miller Act, which does not have notice of commencement requirements.
We have an Iowa residential job for which we were the GC. We started it in fall 2019 and finished recently. Some of what we...
Iowa’s mechanic’s lien statute can be found in Iowa’s Mechanics Lien Act, Iowa Code § 572.1 et. seq. And, the rules and requirements specifically related to the Notice of Commencement process, for residential projects, can be found at § 572.13A Notice of Commencement of Work — General Contractor — Owner-Builder.
1. Either a general contractor, or an owner-builder who has contracted or will contract with a subcontractor to provide labor or furnish material for the property, shall post a notice of commencement of work to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site no later than ten days after the commencement of work on the property. A notice of commencement of work is effective only as to any labor, service, equipment, or material furnished to the property subsequent to the posting of the notice of commencement of work. A notice of commencement of work shall include all of the following information:
a. The name and address of the owner.
b. The name, address, and telephone number of the general contractor or owner-builder.
c. The address of the property or a description of the location of the property if the property cannot be reasonably identified by an address.
d. The legal description that adequately describes the property to be charged with the lien.
e. The date work commenced.
f. The tax parcel identification number.
g. Any other information prescribed by the administrator pursuant to rule.
2. If a general contractor or owner-builder fails to post the required notice of commencement of work to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site pursuant to subsection 1, within ten days of commencement of the work on the property, a subcontractor may post the notice in conjunction with the posting of the required preliminary notice pursuant to section 572.13B. A notice of commencement of work must be posted to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site before preliminary notices pursuant to section 572.13B may be posted.
3. a. At the time a notice of commencement of work is posted on the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site, the administrator shall assign a mechanics’ notice and lien registry number and send a copy of the owner notice described in section 572.13. The owner notice shall contain the following language:
Persons or companies furnishing labor or materials for the improvement of real property may enforce a lien upon the improved property if they are not paid for their contributions, even if the parties have no direct contractual relationship with the owner. The mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site provides a listing of all persons or companies furnishing labor or materials who have posted a lien or who may post a lien upon the improved property. If the person or company has posted its notice or lien to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site, you may be required to pay the person or company even if you have paid the general contractor the full amount due. Therefore, check the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site for information about the property including persons or companies furnishing labor or materials before paying your general contractor. In addition, when making payment to your general contractor, it is important to obtain lien waivers from your general contractor and from persons or companies registered as furnishing labor or materials to your property. The information in the mechanics’ notice and lien registry is posted on the internet site of the mechanics’ notice and lien registry.
b. Other relevant information may be included with the notice described in subsection 1 as prescribed by the administrator pursuant to rule.
c. The notice described in subsection 1 shall be sent to the owner’s address as posted to the mechanics’ notice and lien registry internet site by the general contractor, owner-builder, or subcontractor. If the owner’s address is different than the property address, a copy of the notice shall also be sent to the property address, addressed to the owner if a mailing address has been assigned to the property by the United States postal service.
d. Notices under this section shall not be sent to owner-builders.
4. A general contractor who fails to provide notice pursuant to this section is not entitled to a lien and remedy provided by this chapter.
5. This section applies only to residential construction properties.