If you have decided that the way to get paid on your Minnesota construction project is by filing a mechanics lien, this step-by-step guide will break down the entire process for you.
Before making the leap to filing the lien, though, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be preliminary notice requirements and that there are always timing requirements with which you must comply before a valid Minnesota mechanics lien may be filed. It can be a complicated and time-consuming task to file a mechanics lien by yourself, but if you want to move ahead and you’re ready to do so, just follow the steps below to start the mechanics lien process in the state of Minnesota.
Make Sure Your Minnesota Mechanics Lien Has the Required Information
It is very important to make sure that your Minnesota mechanics lien contains all of the information required by statute. Mechanics liens are created by statute, which means that strict compliance with specific statutory rules, requirements, and deadlines must be achieved. Failing to provide the required information on the lien claim (and providing it in the correct format) is a specific requirement, and failure to do so isn’t just a simple mistake – it can render your entire lien invalid. This means it’s crucial to make sure all the proper information is obtained and included on the lien document.
Michigan mechanics liens must be verified by the oath of some person shown by such verification to have knowledge of the facts stated, and shall set forth:
1) A notice of intention to claim and hold a lien, and the amount thereof;
2) That such amount is due and owing to the claimant for labor performed, or for skill, material, or machinery furnished;
3) For what improvement the labor or material was done or supplied;
4) The name of the claimant;
5) The name of the person(s) for or to whom the labor or material was done or supplied;
6) The date labor or materials were first furnished;
7) The date labor or materials were last furnished;
8) A description of the premises to be charged, identifying the same with reasonable certainty;
9) The name of the owner thereof at the time of making such statement, according to the best information then had;
10) The post office address of the claimant. (The failure to insert such post office address shall not invalidate the lien statement);
11) That claimant acknowledges that a copy of the statement must be served personally or by certified mail within the 120-day period;
12) That notice as required by section 514.011, subdivision 2, if any, was given.
Special Note Regarding Recording Location of Minnesota Mechanics Liens
The location where a Minnesota mechanics lien is recorded is dependent on the property and against which it is claimed, and in some cases, the nature of the project. A Minnesota lien must generally be filed for record with the county recorder but, if the lien is claimed against registered land, it must be recorded with the registrar of titles of the county in which the improved premises are situated. Finally, if the lien arises pursuant to a project on railroad or telegraph lines, or similar projects the lien statement must be recorded with the secretary of state.
How to File a Minnesota Mechanics Lien
Now it’s time to get your Michigan mechanics lien recorded in the office of the register of deeds for each county where the real property to which the improvement was made is located.
- Prepare the lien document, taking care to include all the necessary information set forth above.
- Sign the document, verifying your oath that you have knowledge of the facts stated. Sign the lien in the presence of a notary and have the lien notarized.
- Determine if the property is “abstract property” (most likely) or “registered property” (rarer); and if the project was on a railway, structure connected to RR, or any telegraph, telephone, or electric light line, or of any line of pipe, conduit, or subway.
- Some counties in Minnesota accept mechanics lien documents for electronic recording, but some do not. If you will have the lien e-recorded, choose the e-recording service, select the proper county and document (mechanics lien), follow the prompts, and provide payment. If either the county doesn’t accept e-recording, or you have chosen not to use e-recording, the lien must be delivered to the proper register of deeds by other means. The lien claim may be delivered to the register of deeds by mail or FedEx or may be walked into the office, either by you or by a courier.
- Note that the lien may need to be filed in either the county recorder, the registrar of titles, or the secretary of state depending on your answer to number 2, above.
- Remember, the proper recording fees must be included with the lien. Liens are often rejected for improper fees (even if you provide too much money). Any delay caused by needing to resubmit the lien for recording takes time – and since liens are time sensitive documents, it can possibly result in a missed deadline. Recording fees can be determined by calling the applicable recording office, checking on the office’s website, or asking in person if you physically bring the lien for filing.
– Note that your lien document must also comply with any specific margin (or cover sheet) requirements that particular county register of deeds may have – these can also be determined by calling the recorder’s office.
- Serve the lien, as set forth below.
How to Serve a Minnesota Mechanics Lien
Minnesota requires that a mechanics lien is both filed and served in order to be valid. In fact, as noted in the “required information” section above, the lien requires you to acknowledge that a copy of the statement must be served personally or by certified mail within the 120-day period.
Minnesota law requires that a copy of the statement is served personally or by certified mail on the owner or the owner’s authorized agent or the person who entered into the contract with the contractor within the same 120-day time period in which the lien may be filed. This 120-day runs from the last of the work, or furnishing the last item of skill, material, or machinery, by the claimant to the project.
Congratulations! Once the lien document has been filed and served – your Minnesota mechanics lien is ready to get you paid what you’ve earned. While liens are very powerful – they can be disputed or challenged. Filing the lien may not end the process, and even if the lien is not challenged, you may be required to enforce your lien claim through a foreclosure action in order to get paid. While a valid lien virtually guarantees payment if a foreclosure action is needed, that proceeding can be a time-intensive process.
Remember that just because a lien is recorded doesn’t necessarily make it valid, and likewise, just because a property owner (or their attorney) may make a claim that it is improper and needs to be removed doesn’t make it invalid, either.
Finally, a Minnesota mechanics lien stays effective for 1 year from the date the claimant last furnished labor or materials to the project.
Recording a mechanics lien can be a powerful tool in making sure you are paid what you earned. The How-To guide above can empower you to take that step when and if it becomes necessary, and make sure you are treated fairly.