Minnesota construction law: Fact or fiction?

Fact or Fiction? It is legal to charge 18% per annum interest to all customers on unpaid balances.

Answer: FICTION! In most cases, the maximum interest that may be charged on past-due accounts is 8% per annum if you have a written contract.

Fact or Fiction? As subcontractor, if I serve my pre-lien within 45 days of my first date of work, my lien rights will always be protected.

Answer: FICTION! While in most cases this is true, the longer you wait to serve a pre-lien, the more you risk losing your lien rights. If the homeowner pays the general contractor for your services before receiving your pre-lien notice, your lien rights are extinguished. For this reason, it is always smart to send your pre-lien immediately after you begin work.

Fact or Fiction? As a subcontractor on residential property, if I do not preserve my lien rights, I can still sue the property owner if I am not paid.

Answer: FICTION! Unless your contract was directly with the property owner, your only recourse against the property is generally a mechanic’s lien. If you do not preserve those lien rights, you may then only pursue the general contractor for your money.

Fact or Fiction? Engineers, land surveyors and architects may enforce mechanic’s liens for non-payment.

Answer: FACT! Engineers and land surveyors gained the protection of mechanic’s liens through statutory amendments in 1973 and 1974. Architects may enforce mechanic’s liens if their contributions ultimately play some role in the improvements to the real estate in question. The fact that an architect’s contribution is not actually visible on site does not defeat its lien.