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can I file a mechanics Lein if I'm not a licenced contractor and had only verbal agreement?

IowaLicensesMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienRight to Lien

Thank you for the answer…if you could answer one more question for me. I am not a licenced contractor. I was doing so.e work for a friends friend. They needed their dock fixed, house and deck power washed, stained deck, etc..etc…just a few things done to spruce up the appearance of their house while they have it on the market. we agreed to a price then when the work was finished they gave me half of what was agreed on and said they think that’s fair and that’s all their gonna pay. There was nothing wrong with the job I did. I actually got a lot of complements from the neighbors saying what a good job I did. not to mention I had it done a day before they were having open house. So my question is without a contract and not being a licenced contractor can I still file a mechanics Leon for this in iowa?

1 reply

Sep 19, 2019
Iowa's mechanics lien statute doesn't specifically require that a mechanics lien claimant be licensed in order to file a valid and enforceable mechanics lien. Further, nothing in the statute requires a contract be in writing in order for it to give rise to lien rights, either. Keep in mind, though, that people who perform "construction" work for $2,000+ in a given year should be registered with the Iowa Division of Labor. And, if registration is required but not secured, then fines might come into play. Work giving rise to mechanics lien rights It's worth noting that not all work gives rise to lien rights. And, even on a given project, some work may be lienable while other work might not. Generally, in order to give rise to mechanics lien rights, the work must provide some permanent improvement to the project property. So, while repair or construction work will typically give rise to lien rights - work that's more like maintenance and doesn't provide a permanent improvement to the property might not be lienable. That idea is discussed in-depth in this article: Do Repair and Maintenance Companies Have Mechanics Lien Rights? Mere threat or warning of a potential lien can be effective to compel payment Finally, before proceeding with a mechanics lien filing, it's worth noting that the mere warning or threat of a lien claim may be effective to compel payment - without the need for an actual mechanics lien filing. Mechanics liens work in a number of ways to compel payment (we found 17), but importantly, mechanics liens tie directly to the property title. So, in a situation where a property will soon be sold, a recent mechanics lien could potentially scare away buyers and would certainly require more scrutiny from title companies and mortgage providers. Because mechanics liens complicate the future sale of property, owners will typically really want to prevent potential lien filings. So, by warning a property owner (through a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien that their failure to make payment may result in a mechanics lien claim, it might be easier to convince an owner to release payment. More on that here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One?
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