Lien holder name different than company that is owed for work completed

11 months ago

Signet Builders filed a lien through Zlien and the company name Northridge Construction was used instead (order # 2080452) . Northridge is affiliated with Signet but not connected to this project. This will likely head to court so we need to make sure our lien is rock solid. You can call me at 361.219.2261 if necessary. Scott Coope

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

That’s a good question, and unfortunately, it’s not one that’s very clearly addressed in Iowa’s mechanics lien statute. As a general matter – the right to lien arises specifically as a result of the performance of work on a given property. So, where a party who provided no work to the project has filed a lien on the project property, there’s always a chance that the subsequent lien is invalid – even where the party who filed the lien is heavily related or tied to the party who provided the work. On the other side of that coin, mechanics lien laws often cut some degree of slack – and it’s not unconceivable that a court could allow for such a lien to serve as a valid basis for recovery. At the end of the day, though, it’d certainly be strongly preferable to have a mechanics lien that was filed at the hand of the company who provided the work. Of course, where the deadline to file a mechanics lien has not yet passed, it’s likely possible for a claimant to attempt to amend their lien or to file a new, corrected lien (and then release their flawed, originally filed lien). Further, under § 572.26 of the Iowa lien statute, a mechanics lien may be amended “by leave of court in furtherance of justice” once a lien enforcement action has been commenced – but, it’s hard to be sure whether a court might allow a claimant to leave court and amend their claim. Where it appears that a lawsuit will become necessary anyway, for the most clarity on the matter, it might be worthwhile to consult with a local construction attorney to determine whether they believe a filed lien will hold up in court. After all, if a lien enforcement action were to be filed, it’d likely require an attorney anyway and consulting one sooner than later is often a good idea. Plus, they will likely be familiar with lien enforcement actions in Iowa and may be privy to situations such as this one. As a final note, prior to filing a lawsuit to enforce a filed mechanics lien, sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Foreclose might be helpful to compel payment without the need for actually proceeding with suit. You can learn more about this threat of enforcement here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Foreclose?

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