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Can construction consultants file a mechanics lien in the state of Minnesota?

MinnesotaMechanics LienRecovery OptionsRight to Lien

I started working on a project as a consultant. Working with subs, Architec, engineer, sending important information since last October.

2 replies

Mar 3, 2020
Consulting work will often fall into the grey area when determining whether or not mechanics lien rights will be available. On one hand, for mechanics lien rights to arise, the claimant's work must typically result in some direct physical improvement to the property. On the other hand, Minnesota engineers, architects, and surveyors are entitled to lien rights - so, some work that's not necessarily physical could give rise to mechanics lien rights. Unfortunately, I don't have a cut and dry answer here. If the work that was done looks a lot like the coordination of work that a GC would undertake, lien rights could be on the table. But, if a consultant purely worked off-site and didn't actually coordinate or manage the construction, then it'd seem less likely that lien rights would be appropriate. Further, Minnesota has gone back and forth a bit on what kind of work is lienable over the last several years - so, it's even harder to predict what kinds of work may be lienable. Further discussion on what kinds of work may or may not be lienable, here: (1) Minnesota Lien Law: Mixed Signals “Site Work” As Lienable Service; and (2) Installing Speakers, Movie Screens, Lenses Not Enough for Minnesota Mechanics Lien Rights.

Recovering payment without filing a mechanics lien

Of course, keep in mind that mechanics liens are hardly the only way to get paid on a construction job. Sending something a little less adversarial - like an invoice reminder, demand letter, or even a Notice of Intent to Lien could work to get paid. Plus, other options like pursuing legal claims (breach of contract claims, claims under Minnesota's prompt payment laws, etc.) could do the trick, too.
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