Is a single family dwelling owned by a Trust and is a place of business, subject to a commercial lien?

2 months ago

We are a collection agency wanting to file a mechanics lien on a piece of property in Iowa on behalf of our client for monies due for lease of a 20′ storage container. The piece of property is listed in Iowa as a single family dwelling. However, the lessee is a business who’s address (billing & mailing) is that single family dwelling property. The property owner is a Trust in the name of the business owner. Could this be considered a commercial Iowa Lein or must it be filed as a residential lien due to the status of the property listing?

Additional info about this contractor
Project Role: Other
Project Type: Commercial
Senior Legal Associate Levelset
355 reviews

First, keep in mind that mechanics lien rights will only be available for work done or material or equipment furnished which permanently improves the project property. So, if the material or equipment has become a permanent fixture of the property, then lien rights should be available – regardless of whether the property is ultimately deemed residential or commercial.

Still, § 572.1 of Iowa’s mechanics lien statue defines residential construction as “construction on single-family or two-family dwellings occupied or used, or intended to be occupied or used, primarily for residential purposes…” So, if the property is being primarily used as a residence, then work done on that property will generally be considered “residential.” This is true even if a commercial business happens to be run out of the property as well.

For more information on Iowa mechanics liens, these resources should be useful: (1) Iowa Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs; and (2) Mechanics Lien Iowa: How to File an IA Mechanics Lien.

Further, keep in mind that the mere threat of a lien claim will often be enough to get paid: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One?

Plus, finally, there are always options outside of the mechanics lien process when a lien isn’t available: Can’t File a Lien? Here Are Some Other Options For Recovery.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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