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In Iowa, property liens are often used to collect court ordered judgments in Iowa. The following article covers how these liens work, including: What types of property are covered under Iowa law?, How does a creditor obtain a judgment lien in Iowa?, How long do judgment liens last in Iowa?, and What are the limitations to judgement liens and collecting on them?

In Iowa, property liens are often used to collect court ordered judgments in Iowa. The following article covers how these liens work, including:

  • What types of property are covered under Iowa law?
  • How does a creditor obtain a judgment lien in Iowa?
  • How long do judgment liens last in Iowa?
  • What are the limitations to judgement liens and collecting on them?

In civil court cases, when a judge or jury hands down a verdict or after a settlement is approved, a judgment will be entered by the court. The court will order a payment from one party in the suit to another. In some cases, the party who owes money does not pay. In these cases, a judgment lien is used to ensured that the person who has the judgment (known as the creditor) gets what they are owed. A judgment lien allows the creditor to be paid from the proceeds of the sale of the debtor’s property.  

What types of property are covered under Iowa law?

Generally, a judgment lien can be attached to a debtor’s real estate, including a house, condo, land or other property interest. Some states also allow judgment liens on a debtor’s personal property which can include everything from vehicles to jewelry, art, precious metals, or other valuables.  

In Iowa, a judgment lien can only be attached to real estate, such as a home or property. However, Iowa has what is called a homestead exemption, which keeps qualified primary residences from having liens attached to them.

How does a creditor obtain a judgment lien in Iowa?

Iowa judgment liens are created automatically when a judgment is entered on a debtor’s property in the county the judgment is entered. For property located outside of that area, the creditor will need to go to the county where the property is located and file the judgment with that county court.

How long do judgment liens last in Iowa?

A judgment lien will remain attached to a debtor’s property in Iowa for 10 years. It’s worth noting that the lien will remain attached to the property even if the property is transferred or sold.

What are the limitations to judgement liens and collecting on them?

In Iowa, a creditor’s ability to collect on these judgment liens depends on a number of factors. First, there are the homestead exemptions previously noted. If the property is the debtor’s primary resident, creditors will likely be barred from collecting from the property. Additionally, if there are other liens in place, whether it be construction liens, foreclosure liens, mortgages or bankruptcy liens, the creditor might also be limited in their ability to collect on the property.  

For more information, see Iowa Code 624.23 and 624.24.

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