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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>If hired by a commercial tenant does notice need to go to the commercial property owner to preserve lien rights in Iowa if the commercial tenant does not pay their bill.

If hired by a commercial tenant does notice need to go to the commercial property owner to preserve lien rights in Iowa if the commercial tenant does not pay their bill.

Iowa

Hired by tenant attempted repair, diagnosed larger problem. Tenant contacted property owner at that time. Owner chooses to hire another company for repair. How do we preserve rights to be paid for our time invested approx$600)

1 reply

Aug 12, 2019
Generally, when notice is required to maintain a mechanics lien right on a tenant improvement, the notice should go with to the tenant of the property and the "fee simple" owner of th property itself. When sending preliminary notices, its almost always better to provide more notices rather than fewer. After all, providing information and project visibility is beneficial to everybody involved with the project. In Iowa, the ability to claim a lien against the property itself is severely limited on tenant improvement projects. In Winger Contracting Company v. Cargill, Inc. the Iowa Supreme Court held that a mechanics lien claimant will generally not be entitled to claim a lien against the owner’s underlying property if the owner wasn’t a party to the original contract for work. Instead, the lien would be limited to the tenant's interest in the property. This is discussed in more depth in the article Iowa Mechanics Liens for Tenant Improvements: No Claim on Owner’s Land. Accordingly, while it is always a good idea to send notice to the "actual" owner of the property, and it's always a good idea to attempt to protect the full amount of lien rights available, in many cases in Iowa, the party whose interest would be encumbered by a mechanics lien on a tenant improvement is the tenant himself. This means that the tenant should likely receive any required notices.
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