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Can I file a mechanic's lien 4 the client canceling a contract early without paying in full?

IowaMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienRecovery OptionsRight to Lien

Can I file a mechanic's lien against a homeowner that cancelled the contract before the job was finished and only paid 3rd of the amount owed what's a total job when I completed more than 50% and they canceled for no reason

1 reply

Nov 18, 2019
Iowa mechanics lien claims are generally available to the extent that work is performed but not paid on the given project. So, even if the claimant does not complete the project, they'll still be entitled to lien - but only to the extent that they're actually owed payment based on the work they've performed on the job. Levelset discusses that idea in-depth in these two articles: - Can I File A Lien If My Workmanship Is In Dispute? - Do I Still Have Lien Rights If There Is a Dispute as to What I Am Owed?

Contract claims when improperly terminated on a construction project

Note, also, that there could be legal causes of action in play - beyond a mere mechanics lien filing - when an owner has improperly terminated their contractor. Namely, actions based in breach of contract and wrongful termination might be on the table.

Recovering payment without actually filing a lien

Finally, keep in mind that there are tools that can help with payment recovery without the need for actually filing a mechanics lien or pursuing legal claims.

Payment demand letters

A payment demand letter lets a customer know that you're serious about getting paid, and that a contractor won't sit idly by if payment isn't made. By sending a demand letter with specific legal threats, a contractor may be able to push their customer to do the right thing and pay what's owed. More on that here: Demand Letters for Contractors – How To Write One That Gets You Paid.

Notice of Intent to Lien

Notice of Intent to Lien can take things a step further. It acts like a warning shot - informing a customer that if payment isn't made and made soon, then a lien claim will be filed against their project. Considering the drastic nature of mechanics liens, customers will usually want to do what it takes to avoid a lien claim - so they're more likely to pay what's owed on the job. You can learn more about that recovery tool here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One?

Sometimes, a mechanics lien will be necessary

With the above information in mind, mechanics lien claims are sometimes necessary. Here are some resources with great information on Iowa mechanics lien claims: - Iowa Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs - Mechanics Lien Iowa: How to File an IA Mechanics Lien
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