North Dakota
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

It’s easy to file North Dakota 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 North Dakota’s mechanics lien law, read the information below.

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North Dakota

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
10 Days

Notice of Intent to Lien required to be filed 10 days before filing lien.

North Dakota

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed within 90 days from last delivery of labor or materials. Notice of Intent to Enforce must be sent 20 days before filing enforcement action. Enforcement action due 3 years after recording date of notice.

File your North Dakota lien online now.

North Dakota

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
10 Days

Notice of Intent to Lien required to be filed 10 days before filing lien.

North Dakota

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed within 90 days from last delivery of labor or materials. Notice of Intent to Enforce must be sent 20 days before filing enforcement action. Enforcement action due 3 years after recording date of notice.

File your North Dakota lien online now.

North Dakota

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
10 Days

Notice of Intent to Lien required to be filed 10 days before filing lien.

North Dakota

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed within 90 days from last delivery of labor or materials. Notice of Intent to Enforce must be sent 20 days before filing enforcement action. Enforcement action due 3 years after recording date of notice.

File your North Dakota lien online now.

Calculate your deadline with the Payment Rights Advisor >

5 Things to Know About North Dakota Mechanics Liens

1) Equipment Leasing Co’s Only Have Mechanics Lien rights if in Direct Contact with the Property Owner

North Dakota provides broad protection to parties on a construction project, as contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, suppliers to suppliers, architects, surveyors, engineers, professional soil testers, mappers, and parties involved with excavation and demolition are generally protected. Equipment lessors, however, can only file a mechanics lien if they are contracted directly with the property owner, or if the property owner signs the contract between the equipment lessor and the hiring party.

2) Project Participants Have 3 Years to File a North Dakota Mechanics Lien

North Dakota is unique in that a project participant can file lien rights after the deadline. However, in order to get full rights, adhering to the deadline is crucial. The deadline for a project participant to fully protect lien rights is 90 days after last furnishing labor or materials to the project. If you do not file a mechanics lien within these 90 days, you have 3 years in which to file a lien. This late-filed lien is not effective against subsequent purchasers or encumbrances arising prior to the date of filing the lien. There is some debate as to whether the “first furnishing date” is the first date of the lien claimant’s furnishing or the date the project as a whole started. To be safe and not miss the 3-year deadline, it is advisable to measure from the first date any party delivered to the project.

3) Notice of Intent to Lien Is Required

Preliminary notice is not required, to file a lien, but a Notice of Intent to Lien is required to be sent 10 days before the filing of the lien itself.

4) A Lien on the “Structure” Rather Than the “Property” Can Take Priority

In North Dakota, if you working on a new construction project, you may be able to file a lien against the structure itself and not the land it is on. Material suppliers and laborers can claim this lien if they send a preliminary notice. This lien on the structure itself has priority over prior “title, claim, lien, encumbrance, or mortgage upon the land upon which the building, erection, or improvement is erected.”

5) It’s Always a Good Idea to Be Licensed

In North Dakota, there are no specific requirements that state you need to be licensed to file a mechanics lien. While it is always best practice to be licensed to perform the work, being unlicensed will not invalidate a mechanics lien.


North Dakota contractors are required to send a Notice of Intent before a Mechanics Lien

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North Dakota Frequently Asked Questions

North Dakota Mechanics Lien FAQs

In North Dakota, mechanics lien protection extends to contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. North Dakota provides broad protection to parties working or providing materials to a construction project. Suppliers to suppliers are entitled to lien rights in North Dakota. Architects, surveyors, engineers, professional soil testers, mappers, and parties engaging in demolition or excavation are generally also protected by the ability to file mechanics liens.

In North Dakota, a lien claimant must file a mechanics lien within 90 days after the last date on which the lien claimant furnished labor or material to the project in order to receive full protection. A lien may be filed later, but a belated lien will not be valid as to purchasers or encumbrances the rights of which accrue prior to the filing of the lien. It will also be invalid as to the owner of the property to the extent that the property owner has paid the general contractor prior to the filing of the lien. In any event, even a late mechanics lien must be filed within 3 years from the first furnishing of labor or materials to the project. It is unclear, however, whether the three-year period starts to run from the first furnishing of labor or materials on the project as a whole, or the first furnishing of labor or materials by the potential lien claimant. It may be best practice, then, for a lien claimant to treat the period as beginning to run from the start of the project if the primary 90-day period is missed.­­

No. North Dakota does not require any notice that a mechanics lien has been filed to be sent to any party. The filing of the mechanics lien in the Registry of Deeds of the county in which the property is located has been determined to constitute sufficient notice to the interested parties.

As a practical matter, however, it may be best practice for a lien claimant to send a copy of the mechanics lien to the property owner as it may facilitate payment.

No. In North Dakota, a mechanics lien is limited to difference between the “agreed upon sum” or “the reasonable value of work done and the skill and material furnished” and the amount paid to the lien claimant. The value of a change order, or other add-on, is probably includable in the lien claim. Attorney’s fees, or indirect or consequential damages are not included in the lien claim itself. If the property owner successfully defends against a mechanics lien in court, the property owner will be awarded costs and attorney’s fees from the unsuccessful lien claimant.

In North Dakota, an action to enforce a mechanics lien must be initiated within 3 years from the date on which the lien was filed. It is possible for this time period to be dramatically shortened, however. If the property owner, or other person with an interest, serves a written demand upon the lien claimant as set forth in North Dakota law, the lien claimant is required to commence a lien enforcement action within 30 days from receipt of that written demand.

In North Dakota, a mechanics lien has priority over liens or encumbrances that attach to the property after the project commences. For purposes of priority, mechanics liens relate back to the first furnishing of labor or materials on the project notwithstanding the fact that the particular lien claimant may have furnished labor or materials at a later date. There is, however, an exception for construction mortgages. A mechanics lien will not have priority over a construction mortgage in North Dakota even if the construction mortgage is unrecorded at the time labor or materials are first furnished.

As between competing mechanics liens, the liens are grouped by tier and given priority in the following order: 1) manual labor, 2) materials, 3) subcontractors other than manual laborers, and 4) general contractors.

Liens filed after the 90-day period, but before the 3-year expiration, are granted priority only by the date of their filing.

No. North Dakota does not require a mechanics lien to be notarized. It may simply be signed.

North Dakota imposes no specific licensing requirement in order to file a valid mechanics lien. However, it is never a good idea to perform work for which a license is required without having the proper license.

Yes. A mechanics lien may be filed against a condominium project in North Dakota, to the extent you are a party otherwise allowed to file a mechanics lien.

There is no specific provision in North Dakota stating which party is responsible for discharging a lien when the obligation underlying the lien is paid. However, when a lien is filed against a property, any payment made to satisfy that lien is generally made for the consideration of the lien being released.

North Dakota 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.

North Dakota statutory law is silent regarding advance lien waivers.  While it is unclear how an advance lien waiver would be treated in respect to the paying party, an advance lien waiver can likely be relied on by third parties.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our North Dakota Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

North Dakota Preliminary Notice FAQs

Yes. North Dakota imposes mandatory notice requirements for a valid mechanics lien claim, as well as providing for optional notice that may be provided to the owner by a potential lien claimant other than a primary contractor. An optional notice may be provided to the property owner by a potential lien claimant other than a prime contractor for two purposes. The first potential reason is to give notice to the owner to withhold funds from the prime contractor in an amount necessary to cover the claimant’s lien, and to pay them. It is also possible for a laborer or material supplier to claim a lien on only a structure (without affecting the underlying property) provided that the project is the construction of a complete, independent, and original new structure. In order to claim this type of lien, a specific optional notice must be provided to the property owner. The mandatory notice requirements are required of all parties, and must be sent prior to filing a mechanics lien, and also prior to enforcing a mechanics lien.

The optional preliminary notice for lien on both land and structure may be provided at any time prior to the lien itself (perhaps prior to the mandatory notices, as well.)

The optional preliminary notice for lien on solely the structure must be received by the owner at the time of delivery of the materials.

The mandatory notice prior to filing a lien must be served on the property owner at least 10 days prior to the lien claimant recording the lien. This means that for a timely lien claim, the notice must be provided no later than 80 days after the date of last furnishing of labor and/or materials.

The optional notices are not required to be filed, so they cannot technically be filed late. Further, the optional notice for a lien on both the land and structure may be given at any time prior to the filing of the lien.

If the optional notice for a lien on solely the structure is not delivered to the owner at the time of delivering materials, the lien claimant is not allowed to claim only that particular type of lien.

The mandatory notice prior to filing the lien must be given at least 10 days before the recording of the lien. This is a necessary requirement. The notice may be filed later than the 80-day period, but it will result in the lien claim being recorded untimely. While this is not fatal to the lien claim in North Dakota, it may have an effect on the priority of the lien, and it results in the lien not providing full protection against purchasers or other encumbrances.

The optional notices to owner must be “served” or “delivered” to the owner. This requirement is likely best met by sending the notice to the owner by certified mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested. However, since these notices are not required, any type of delivery is sufficient if actually delivered to the owner; sending by a method that allows delivery tracking provides this information.

The mandatory notice to owner prior to filing the lien (“Notice of Intent to Lien”) must be sent to the property owner by certified mail. Sending by certified mail, return receipt requested, should also satisfy this requirement if the lien claimant wishes.

No. All notices in North Dakota are only required to be sent to the property owner – no other notices are required to be sent.

Notices of Intent to Lien are considered delivered when mailed by certified mail. It is unclear whether the mailing of the optional notices meets the requirements for service or delivery if not actually received.