Mechanic's Notice and Lien Registry Changes
Iowa's Mechanic's Notice and Lien Registry, which launched on January 1, is up-and-running without significant issue. Liens must now be filed electronically in the registry, housed on the Iowa Secretary of State's website, as part of the shift ushered in by the passage of Iowa House File 565. Among other changes, it provides that any civil action by a subcontractor against a general contractor or owner-builder will be approved by the Secretary of State's office (the administrator) rather than a District Court.
Still, the larger purpose of the registry continues to be to protect residential homeowners more so than contractors or materials providers. Prospects of a change in the upcoming Iowa legislative session appear unlikely. A spokesperson for the Secretary of State' office said there have been 2,668 lien filings through September 10, 2013 and 82,439 total visitors. The spokesperson admitted the law is much more geared to assist residential homeowners than any other stakeholders. Other mechanic's lien-related bills previously introduced before the 2013-2014 recess, including House Study Bill 215, have either been withdrawn, "died" in committee or had parts folded into HF 565. The spokesperson said there were no known legislative efforts related to this or mechanic's lien changes in general for the remainder of the 2013-2014 Session, which is set to pick up business again later this fall.