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Mechanics Liens Process for Contractors and Subcontractors

Mechanic’s liens provide contractors and subcontractors with a means of collecting payment for construction work and supplies. The lien allows you to eventually take possession of property upon which you completed work for which you were not paid.

In order to use this legal option, Minnesota laws require you to:

  • Include notice of rights language in your contract – Minnesota’s statutes usually require contractors to inform the property owner of the right to payment and to file a lien. You can include this language in your contract for services or materials. This protects your rights should you need to file a lien down the road.
  • Send notice to property owner directly – The subcontractor must send notice to the homeowner within 45 days of the start of work that advises of the right to file a lien. You should further explain that the property owner is authorized to pay the subcontractor directly for work or materials. This notice preserves your access to the mechanics lien option.
  • Demand property owner information – As a subcontractor, you have the right to know the name and address of the property owner for which you are providing goods or services. Make your demand for this information in writing to the contractor.
  • Request payment from the property owner – Before you can use the mechanics lien option, you must give the property owner the opportunity to pay. Send a letter of nonpayment directly to the property owner.
  • File a Statement of Lien – You have only 120 days from the date you completed the work to file your Statement of Lien or you forever waive your right to make the claim of lien. File the original Statement of Lien with the county recorder and send a copy of the document to the property owner via certified mail.
  • Take legal action – The law gives you one year from the last day of work to file your complaint for payment against the property owner.

For assistance with filing a mechanics lien and collecting payment for your services or supplies, consult with a dedicated Minnesota real estate business lawyer.