In Minnesota, contractors who have not been paid for their work have 120 days to enforce their mechanic’s lien rights, or risk losing their ability to make a claim.
Under Section 514.08 of the Minnesota Statutes, the 120-day clock starts running from the last day a contractor has done work on the property, or from the last day a contractor furnished an “item of skill, material, or machinery.” Contractors should be aware that repair or “touch up” work performed on a property may or may not reset the start of the 120-day clock, depending on the facts of the case. In particular, courts will determine whether or not the follow-up work was “occasioned by the ordinary process of construction and still within the construction phase of the life of the building.”
To make a mechanic’s lien claim, within the 120-day deadline a contractor must file a statement of claim and serve a copy of the claim on the property owner, an authorized agent, or the person who entered into the contract. The statement of claim is generally filed with the county recorder. If the property is registered land, the claim should be filed with the county registrar of titles, or if the work was performed on railroads or telephone lines, file with the secretary of state.
The statement of claim should be verified “by the oath of some person . . . [having] knowledge of the facts stated.” The statement must state (1) notice of intent to claim a lien and the amount claimed; (2) that payment is due and for what work; (3) names of the claimant and the person for whom work was done; (4) the first and last dates on which work was done; (5) a description that reasonably identifies the property involved; (6) the name of the property owner; (7) the post office address of the contractor; and (8) acknowledgement that the contractor must serve a copy upon the non-paying party within the 120-day limit. If the claiming party is a subcontractor, it must also set forth that the subcontractor’s notice, required by Section 514.011 of the Minnesota Statutes, was provided to the property owner.