Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs
It’s easy to file Minnesota mechanics liens with zlien, the web’s leading all-in-one mechanics lien compliance manager and security platform. Plus, the zlien platform can help you prepare and file mechanics lien cancellations, preliminary notices, and more. To learn more about Minnesota’s mechanics lien law, read the frequently asked questions below.
Preliminary Notice Deadlines
Mechanics Liens Deadlines
Preliminary Notice Deadlines
Mechanics Liens Deadlines
Preliminary Notice Deadlines
Mechanics Liens Deadlines
5 Things to Know About Minnesota Mechanics Liens
1) Suppliers to Suppliers do Not have Minnesota Mechanics Lien Rights
Parties who furnish labor, materials, or services at the request of the owner, owner’s agent, general contractor, or subcontractor on a construction project have mechanics lien rights in Minnesota. Suppliers are well protected in Minnesota, as they can generally file a mechanics lien even if their materials aren’t incorporated in the project, provided the materials were supplied in good faith.
Suppliers to suppliers are not protected by the Minnesota mechanics lien statutes.
2) The Deadline to a File a Minnesota Mechanics Lien is 120 Days
No matter in which tier in the project a potential lien claimant is located, a mechanics lien in Minnesota must be recorded and served on the property owner within 120 days after the last date the lien claimant provided labors or materials to the project. This deadline, like the deadline in most states, is hard-and-fast; miss it, and lien rights are extinguished.
3) Everyone is Required to Submit Preliminary Notice
Preliminary notice is usually required for all parties on a construction project. The general contractor must generally provide the owner with a General Contractor’s Notice unless an exception applies. This notice is usually included in the contract, but if it is not, the notice must be sent by certified mail, or personally delivered, within 10 days after the work is agreed upon.
For those who did not contract directly with the property owner, the Lien Claimant’s Notice must be sent within 45 days of first furnishing labor/materials to the construction project. General contractors may also need to send this notice if they contracted with one, but not all, property owners. Like the General Contractor’s Notice, there are some exceptions to if it needs to be sent. It is best practice, however, to send even if an exception applies.
4) Some Minnesota Mechanics Liens May Take Priority Over Mortgages
Minnesota mechanics liens are effective from the time the claimant began work on the project. Since mechanics liens relate back to the start of work (defined as the first date of actual physical improvement to the property), they can take priority over a mortgage if the first labor or materials were furnished to the property prior to the date the mortgage was filed.
5) Minnesota Mechanics Lien Law Allows Interest to Be Included
While the amount of the lien claim in Minnesota can include interest, it cannot include attorney’s fees, surety bond premiums, “soft costs,” and costs of extra materials that were not authorized by the owner. While attorney fees cannot be included in the lien amount, they are generally awarded to the prevailing party if a foreclosure action is needed.
Minnesota contractors are required to send a Preliminary Notice
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Minnesota Frequently Asked Questions
Minnesota Mechanics Lien FAQ
In Minnesota, a party who furnishes labor, materials, or services to the owner, owner’s agent, contractor, or subcontractor on a construction project is entitled to a mechanic’s lien, as are engineers, surveyors and architects. Suppliers are generally allowed to assert mechanics lien rights even if the materials are not actually incorporated in the improvement if the materials were supplied in good faith. On the question of what work actually constitutes “lienable work,” the courts have been a bit confusing in Minnesota. First, there is a split in the courts about whether “site work” is lienable. Second, the court has not been entirely clear segregating lienable “fixtures” from non-lienable “trade fixtures,” ruling recently that installing a movie screen is not a “fixture” within a movie theater. Suppliers to suppliers are not entitled to mechanic’s lien protection in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, a mechanics lien statement must be recorded and served on the property owner within 120 days after the date the lien claimant last furnished labor or materials to the project. In calculating the deadline, Minnesota courts will disregard “items of labor or material which are nominal or insignificant in amount and furnished for the sole purpose of extending the time for filing the lien.” This was stated by a recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision, but the decision held that minor repair work could be considered in calculating the date. Minnesota Mechanics Lien Case Holds Repair Work May Extend Lien Period.
Yes. Minnesota requires that the Statement of Claim of Lien be served on the owner, or owner’s authorized agent (or person who entered into the contract for improvement with the prime contractor), either personally or by certified mail. The owner is required to be served with the Statement of Claim of Lien within the same 120 day period in which the lien must be filed with the county recorder or registrar of titles.
Attorney’s fees may not be included in the lien amount in Minnesota, but are generally awarded to the prevailing party in a foreclosure action. Other costs not included in the lien amount are surety bond premiums, “soft costs,” and costs of extra materials not authorized by the owner. Interest, however, is both recoverable, and may be included in the lien amount.
In Minnesota, it is required that an action to enforce a mechanics lien must be initiated within 1 year from the date of the lien claimant’s last furnishing of labor or materials to the project.
The priority of mechanics liens in Minnesota, as related to a construction lender’s mortgage, is determined by the first date of actual physical improvement to the property. Any lien, mortgage, or encumbrance that is recorded after the first item of material or labor is furnished on the property at the beginning of the improvement does not have priority over a mechanics lien. The work or material must be “actual and visible.” Between competing mechanics liens, all liens are treated as having the same priority no matter when the statement was filed, and recover pro-rata in a foreclosure action.
No. While a legal property description is always the most accurate way of identifying the property to be liened, Minnesota requires a “description of the premises to be charged, identifying the same with reasonable certainty.”
Yes. Minnesota requires that the Claim of Lien be notarized in order to be valid.
Minnesota does not impose any licensing requirements specifically related to a lien claimant’s ability to claim a mechanics lien. However, if a party is required to be licensed to perform the work he performs, it is unadvisable to not be licensed.
Yes, a mechanics lien may be filed against a project involving a condominium, provided the lien claimant would otherwise have valid mechanics lien rights.
There is no specific provision in Minnesota law that outlines who must cancel a mechanics lien if the debt is paid prior to the initiation of a foreclosure action. As a practical matter, however, amounts paid after a lien has been filed are generally paid in consideration of the release of the lien by the lien claimant.
Minnesota does not have statutory lien waiver forms; therefore, you can use any lien waiver form. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers.
Minnesota specifically forbids the waiving of the right to file a mechanics lien or make a claim against a payment bond prior to the actual receipt of payment. Any such waiver is void and unenforceable. However, the statute specifically notes that the waiver may be valid as to any third party that relied on the waiver to his/her own detriment.
To learn more about lien waivers, see our Minnesota Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.
Minnesota Preliminary Notice FAQs
Yes. Unless an exception applies, Minnesota requires lien claimants to send a preliminary notice. General contractors who contract directly with the owner are required to provide the owner with a General Contractor’s Notice, unless one of the many exceptions applies. This notice is generally included in the written contract with the owner of the property, but if it is not (or no written contract is entered into with the owner) the notice must be prepared separately and delivered personally or by certified mail within 10 days after the work is agreed upon.
Every party who does not have a contract with the owner of the property (subs, suppliers, and others) must provide the owner with a Lien Claimant’s Notice. This may also be required of a general contractor who entered into a contract with one, but not all, of the owners of a certain property. As with the General Contractor’s Notice, there are many exceptions. When required, however, the notice must be delivered personally or by certified mail within 45 days after the first furnishing of labor and/or materials to the lien project by the lien claimant.
The General Contractor’s Notice is generally included in the written contract with the owner of the property, but if it is not (or no written contract is entered into with the owner) the notice must be prepared separately and delivered personally or by certified mail within 10 days after the work is agreed upon. The Lien Claimant’s Notice must be delivered personally or by certified mail within 45 days from the first furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project by the lien claimant. However, even though a notice sent anytime within the 45-day period is timely, it may not fully protect a potential lien claimant. In Minnesota, the total amount of liens on a project may be reduced by the amount paid by the owner to the general contractor prior to receiving the Lien Claimant’s Notice. This provides motivation for all potential lien claimants to provide their preliminary notice to the owner as soon as possible.
If required, failure to send the General Contractor’s Notice timely is fatal to a lien claim in Minnesota. Similarly, if required, failure to send the Lien Claimant’s Notice timely is fatal to a lien claim in Minnesota.
If not included in a written contract between the owner and the general contractor, the General Contractor’s Notice must be delivered to the owner personally or by certified mail. The Lien Claimant’s Notice must be delivered personally or by certified mail.
No. Preliminary notice in Minnesota must only be provided to the property owner (or owner’s agent).
Minnesota notices are considered delivered when sent by certified mail.