Iowa Preliminary Notice Guide and FAQs

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Iowa Preliminary Notice FAQs

About Iowa Preliminary Notices

Iowa Preliminary Notice Rules
At a Glance


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Preliminary Notices Are Required

There are different preliminary notice requirements for different projects and contractor roles in Iowa.


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DAYS
GCs Must Send Notice

General Contractors on owner-occupied residential projects, must provide notice of lien rights and identity of subs to be used. This should generally be provided in the contract itself, but if the contract is oral, the notice may be provided within 10 days of beginning work.


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Subcontractors Must Send Notice

On owner-occupied residential projects, subcontractors must provide notice of providing labor/materials to owner upon starting work.

If a second-tier or below sub on a non-residential project, notice must be given to the prime contractor within 30 days of first furnishing materials.


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DAYS
Suppliers Must Send Notice

On owner-occupied residential projects, suppliers should provide notice of providing labor/materials to owner upon starting work.

If supplying a sub or sub-sub on a non-residential project, notice must be given to the prime contractor within 30 days of first furnishing materials.


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Notice Cannot be Sent Late

The deadlines for preliminary notice in Iowa are strict, and failure to provide notice when required is fatal to a subsequent lien claim.


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Send to Owner or Prime Contractor

Depending on the notice it may be required to be sent to the oner or the prime contractor. Best practice, however, would be to send any notice to both the GC and the property owner.

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Preliminary Notice Required

In Iowa, all parties who do not have a direct contract with the general contractor must send preliminary notice in order retain the right to make a claim against the project's payment bond. It is likely good practice for all subcontractors and suppliers to send notice even if first-tier, however.


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On public jobs, any claims for non-payment are made against the general contractor's bond. Since GCs will not make a claim against their own bond for non-payment, they do not have bond claim rights, and have no preliminary notice requirement.


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Subs Must Send Notice

All parties who did not contract directly with the GC must send preliminary notice within 30 days of first furnishing labor and/or material to a public project in Iowa.


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DAYS
Suppliers Must Send Notice

All parties who did not contract directly with the GC must send preliminary notice within 30 days of first furnishing labor and/or material to a public project in Iowa.


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Notice Cannot be Sent Late

In Iowa, if a preliminary notice is required it must be sent within the 30-day time period. Failing to send the notice on time is fatal to any subsequent bond claim.


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Send to GC

On public projects in Iowa, the preliminary notice must only be sent to the general contractor.

In Iowa, the preliminary notice requirements differ depending on project type and contractor role. All parties, no matter the tier, may need to provide a preliminary notice in Iowa, but the notice deadlines and content are all different.

Prime contractors need to provide preliminary notice on owner-occupied residential property. This notice should be delivered to the property owner in order to identify subcontractors or suppliers.

Subcontractors and laborers on an owner-occupied residential project must provide notice to the owner when starting work.

Finally, for projects that are not on owner-occupied residential property, there still may be preliminary notice requirements, but the requirements are limited to 2nd-tier and below subcontractors and suppliers.

Preliminary Notice Frequently Asked Questions

If you're sending preliminary notices in Iowa, it's important to get all the details right. And, if you're receiving prelims, it's important to know what you're looking at and know what to do in followup. Preliminary notices are governed by a lot of complex rules and requirements, so keeping track of it all and making sure your notice is compliant, sufficient, and timely can be difficult. It's also a tedious process to deal with sending and receiving notices - especially when dealing with multiple jobs or a bunch of different project participants. These are some frequently asked questions about the preliminary notice processing Iowa.

Prelim FAQs on Private Projects

Do I Need to Send a Iowa Preliminary Notice?

It depends. Notice requirements in Iowa depend on both the project type and the role of the lien claimant.

Prime Contractors: Must provide a notice to the property owner on an owner-occupied residential project. The notice must state that parties furnishing labor or materials to the project may enforce lien rights, and must include a list (name/address) of all subs to be used on the project. This notice should either be in the original contract, or if the contract is oral, provided to the owner within 10 days of commencing work. This notice should be updated throughout the work when new subs are added.

Subcontractor/Laborer: On an owner-occupied residential project, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work.

A sub-sub on a non-residential project must provide notice to the prime contractor within 30 days of furnishing labor or materials.

Supplier: On an owner-occupied residential project, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work. Must provide notice to prime contractor within 30 days of first providing materials if the materials were provided to a sub on a non-residential project.

When do I Need to Send a Iowa Preliminary Notice?

The prime contractor’s notice to the owner of an owner-occupied residential project should be included in the original contract, or if the original contract is oral, must be provided within 10 days of commencing work.

The subcontractor’s notice to owner on an owner-occupied residential project should be provided when commencing work.

The sub-sub’s notice to prime contractor on a non-residential project must be provided within 30 days of providing labor or materials.

The supplier’s notice to prime contractor on a non-residential project must be provided within 30 days of first providing labor or materials.

It is also important to note that many filings in Iowa will expire after 2 years pursuant to new lien statutes. Read that new provision here: Iowa Code § 572.34(12).

What if I Send the Iowa Preliminary Notice Late?

When required, an Iowa preliminary notice must be provided within the statutory deadline. Failure to send the notices within the appropriate time period may be fatal to the potential lien claim.

How Should the Iowa Preliminary Notice be Sent?

Prime contractor’s notice to owner-occupier on a residential project may be included in the original contract, or delivered to the owner in writing by certified mail.

A subcontractor’s notice is typically delivered through the Iowa mechanics lien registry website.

A sub-subcontractor’s notice for commercial work is typically mailed – often via certified mail with return receipt requested.

Do I Have to Send the Iowa Preliminary Notice to Someone Other than the Owner?

As defined above, notice may be required to be sent to the prime contractor or the owner. However, as many Iowa preliminary notices are “sent” through the Iowa mechanics lien registry website, the delivery of the notice is publication on the registry and no other specific delivery is required.

Is the Iowa Preliminary Notice Requirement met when sent or delivered?

Notices are considered delivered when posted to the online mechanics lien registry, or when sent.

Prelim FAQs on Public Projects

Do I Need to Send a Preliminary Notice?

On Iowa public projects, parties who do not have a direct contractual relationship with the general contractor must provide preliminary notice to preserve the right to make a bond claim or a claim on retainage.

When do I Need to Send a Iowa Preliminary Notice?

Notice must be provided within 30 of the date of first furnishing.

What if I Send the Iowa Preliminary Notice Late?

Failure to provide notice is fatal to a bond or retainage claim.

How Should the Iowa Preliminary Notice be Sent?

There is no specific provision in Iowa statutory law that sets forth how the notice must be sent. However, it is generally best practice to send notices via a method that provides evidence that the notice was sent or delivered.

To Whom Must the Iowa Preliminary Notice be Given?

Notice must be provided to the general contractor.

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Iowa Preliminary Notice Form Template

Iowa has certain specific requirements for preliminary notices delivered and posted in that state. This doesn’t mean that the form has to look at a certain way, but it does mean that the document must contain certain information. The forms provided here for free by Levelset are compliant with the Iowa rules, to the extent that a hard copy form is required instead of a posting on the MNLR website. You can download them for free, or use our system to send or request them easily.

Iowa Prime Contractor Language in Owner Occupied Contract Form - free from

Iowa Prime Contractor Language in Owner Occupied Contract Form

Prime Contractors must provide a notice to the property owner on an owner-occupied residential project. The notice must state that parties furnishing labor or materials...

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Iowa Notice by Sub-Subcontractor Form - free from

Iowa Notice by Sub-Subcontractor Form

On an owner-occupied residential project, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work. A sub-sub on a non-residential project must provide...

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Iowa Notice of Lien Rights by Subcontractors Form - free from

Iowa Notice of Lien Rights by Subcontractors Form

On an owner-occupied residential project, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work. A sub-sub on a non-residential project must provide...

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Iowa Notice by Subcontractor to Residential Owner Form - free from

Iowa Notice by Subcontractor to Residential Owner Form

On an owner-occupied residential project in Iowa, notice to owner of providing labor/materials must be provided when starting work. The Notice by Subcontractor to Residential...

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Iowa Notice to Contractor Public Project Form - free from

Iowa Notice to Contractor Public Project Form

Preliminary notice is now required on Iowa public projects. Notice must be sent to the prime contractor within 30 days of first furnishing. If additional...

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