Effective January 1, 2013, Iowa’s system for filing residential and commercial Mechanic’s Liens has changed and additional notices are now required for residential construction projects.  An online, centralized filing system with the Iowa Secretary of State, called the Mechanic’s Notice and Lien Registry (MNLR), has been established for posting notices and mechanic’s liens. The MNLR can be found at https://sos.iowa.gov/mnlr/index.aspx. You will no longer be able to file Mechanic’s liens with the local clerk of court.


For residential projects, general contractors are now required to post a Commencement of Work Notice on the MNLR within ten days of commencement of work on the property and also provide a written notice to the property owners containing required language in a specified font size.  A Commencement Notice form is linked here.  The written notice to the owner may be included in the construction contract or can be in a separate notice.

Also for residential construction projects, subcontractors are required to post a Preliminary Notice on the MNLR before the balance due is paid to the general contractor or owner builder.  A Preliminary Notice form is linked here.  A subcontractor may post the Commencement Notice if the general contractor has not already done so.  If a subcontractor posts the Commencement Notice on behalf of the general contractor, then the subcontractor must also post a Preliminary Notice.  The posting fee for the Preliminary Notice is $7.00 if posted electronically and $10.00 if filed by mail.

Once the Commencement and Preliminary Notices have been posted, the Mechanic’s Lien may be posted electronically on the MNLR by filling in a form on the MNLR website, electronically signing the certification and attaching the Mechanic’s Lien as a PDF attachment.


For commercial construction projects, no Commencement or Preliminary Notices need to be filed.  For these projects, the Mechanic’s Lien may be filed electronically on the MNLR in the same way that a Mechanic’s Lien is filed for a residential project, but the lien can only be filed with the secretary of state on the MNLR.

MNLR Searches and Account Information

Searching the MNLR does not require an account with the Iowa Secretary of State, but an account is required to post notices and/or liens.  Account registration is free for general contractors and subcontractors, or SI has established accounts to post notices and liens if you would prefer that we post items on your behalf.
We would be happy to answer any questions about the above or assist in any way we can.

The Real Estate Section of Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, P.L.C.

William P. Prowell, Practice Chair
William J. Daly
Laurie L. Dawley
John H. Ehrhart
Wesley B. Huisinga
Linda M. Kirsch
Michael O. McDermott
Dennis J. McMenimen
William R. Shuttleworth
William D. Sindlinger
Marty L. Stoll

William P. Prowell
William Prowell is a Senior Vice President at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, P.L.C. William's work focuses on real estate, business transactions, historic tax credits, zoning and banking.