Mechanic's Lien Sales General Guidelines

The Mechanic's Lien Sales General Guidelines is divided into three broad sections:

  1. General Guidelines — requirements that must be met in order to have a successful sale.
  2. Letter of Instruction — the letter you must send to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Civil Unit containing details and instructions for conducting a sale.
  3. Minnesota State Statutes 514.18 to 514.22, which are relevant to this process.

General Guidelines
Letter of Instruction
Minnesota Statutes 514.18 to 514.22

General Guidelines 

(Following are important requirements that must be met in order to have a successful sale).

Individual or business bringing forth the action.

In order for you to act as a lienholder over property, you must have met the statutory requirements set forth in the subdivisions of Minnesota State Statutes 514.18 or 514.19. (see above)

90 days must have lapsed after bill becomes due to the lienholder.

Notice to secured creditors.

If the property is a motor vehicle, and there are secured creditors on the certificate of title, the lienholder must provided written notice to the secured creditors by registered mail, at least 45 days prior to the sale date.

The notice must state the name, address, and telephone number of the lienholder, the amount of money owed, and the rate of storage charges, if they are accruing.
Costs for registered mail and other reasonable costs related to complying with this notice provision constitutes “lawful charges”.

Failure to comply with the notice provision in this section renders any lien created by this chapter ineffective against any secured party listed on the certificate of title of the motor vehicle involved. (The "notice to secured creditors" may or may not be the same as the "notice of sale". Each notice requires specific statutory language be included, so draft your notices accordingly.)

The sale

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office requests that sale dates be set on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday at 10 o’clock a.m., sufficiently in advance of the date of the sale in order to complete all the required notifications.

Sales scheduled for a Sunday or a legal holiday will not be accepted. The hour of sale should be on the hour and not on the half-hour since the sale must take place within the stated hour.

The notice of sale

The notice of sale must state:

  1. The date, time and place (location) of the sale, the amount which will be due on the date of the sale exclusive of the expenses of advertising and sale,
  2. The grounds of the lien (for what reason).
  3. A general description of the property to be sold.

The notice must be served upon the owner of the property if the owner can be found within the county in which the property is stored. If not, it must be mailed to the owner at least three weeks before the sale if the place of residence or post office address of such owner is known or can be determined.

The notice must be published once in each week for three successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the county where the property, or some part of it, is situated. The last publication of this notice must be at least one week prior to the date of sale;

In case neither the place of residence nor the post office address of the property's owner is known and cannot be determined, publication or posting of the notice, shall be sufficient to authorize the sale.

The notice of sale to be served should read the same as the notice that is published in the newspaper. The same statutory information is required.

General description.

If the property is a motor vehicle, the notice of sale should include the make, model, year and vehicle identification number (VIN).

Verification should be made by getting a copy of a vehicle printout from the State of Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) and confirm it with the VIN on the vehicle.

You must check to see if there are secured creditors listed on the certificate of title. The DVS will release information on the vehicle to businesses bringing forth the sale upon request and accompanying fee but will not release information to private individuals who are lienholders who bring forth the sale.

Vehicle printouts

The current cost in getting a vehicle printout from the DVS is $4.50 and can be either mailed to the Driver and Vehicle Services Office or picked up at the main floor counter of the office (see on the right under "Contact Information"). Businesses should use their letterhead when requesting vehicle printouts.

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Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Civil Unit requirements for conducting a Mechanic's Lien Sale:
Letter of Instruction  

You must send a letter to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Civil Unit with specific instructions as to what you want the Sheriff’s Office to do and include the date of the sale.

If you want the Sheriff's Office Civil Unit to accomplish service of the notice of sale on the owner(s) of the property indicate so in the letter of instruction.

$70 deposit is required for each service. Provide name and address of individual(s) you want served and additional copies of the notice of sale for each service. Include your name, business name, and address and phone number on the letter of instruction in case of questions and for return of service.

Copy of the notice of sale.

Proof of mailing notice to secured creditors at least 45 days prior to sale date if the property has secured creditors.

Proof (affidavit) of service of notice of sale upon the owner of the property if located within the county.

If the owner is living in the county where the vehicle is stored and sold, they must be personally served the notice of sale.

An affidavit is a voluntary declaration of facts written down and sworn to by the declarant before an officer authorized to administer oaths.

In short the affidavit is a notarized statement from a person not less than 18 years of age and not a party to the action or a certificate of service by the sheriff that the notice of sale was personally served.

OR if the owner is not in the county that the vehicle is being sold; a notice must be mailed to the last known address.

Examples of an affidavit of mailing are: Signed certified letter receipt, a returned envelop from the post office, a statement from the person that mailed the notice or an affidavit from the possessor that the owners address can not be found.

Copies of notice of sale as published in the newspaper with dates listed or affidavit from the publisher stating that the notice was published and on what dates.

(Reminder - the publication of the notice of sale is once a week for three successive weeks and that the last date of publication cannot be less than seven days from the date of the sale.)

$100 deposit per item for sale, check made out to the "Hennepin County Sheriff".

Deliver service in person or mail to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Civil Unit (see on the right under "Contact Information").

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Minnesota State Statutes 514.18 to 514.22 

(See Minnesota State Statutes to reference other statutes referred to in this document).

514.18 Retaining

Subdivision 1. Mechanics' lien on personal property. Whoever, at the request of the owner or legal possessor of any personal property, shall store or care for or contribute in any of the modes mentioned in section 514.19 (see below) to its preservation, care, or to the enhancement of its value, shall have a lien upon such property for the price or value of such storage, care, or contribution, and for any legal charges against the same paid by such person to any other person, and the right to retain possession of the property until such lien is lawfully discharged.

Subd. 1a. Towed motor vehicles. A person who tows and stores a motor vehicle at the request of a law enforcement officer shall have a lien on the motor vehicle for the value of the storage and towing and the right to retain possession of the motor vehicle until the lien is lawfully discharged. This section does not apply to tows authorized in section 169.041, subdivision 4, clause (1).

Subd. 2. Nonpossessory lien; notice. Notwithstanding the voluntary surrender or other loss of possession of the property on which the lien is claimed, the person entitled thereto may preserve the lien upon giving notice of the lien at any time within 60 days after the surrender or loss of possession, by filing in the appropriate filing office under the Uniform Commercial Code, Minnesota Statutes, section 336.9-501 a verified statement and notice of intention to claim a lien. The statement shall contain a description of the property upon which the lien is claimed, the work performed or materials furnished and the amount due.

Subd. 3. Priority; security; interest; foreclosure. The lien shall be valid against everyone except a purchaser or encumbrancer in good faith without notice and for value whose rights were acquired prior to the filing of the lien statement and who has filed a statement of interest in the appropriate filing office. The lien shall be considered a security interest under the Uniform Commercial Code and foreclosure thereon shall be in the manner prescribed for security interests under article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Subd. 4. Motor vehicles excluded. Subdivisions 2 and 3 shall apply to machinery, implements and tools of all kinds but shall not apply to motor vehicles.

514.19 Right of detainer

A lien and right of detainer exists for:

(1) transporting property, other than harvested crops or livestock, from one place to another but not as a carrier under article 7 of the Uniform Commercial Code;

(2) keeping or storing property, other than harvested crops or livestock, as a bailee but not as a warehouse operator under article 7 of the Uniform Commercial Code;

(3) the use and storage of molds and patterns in the possession of the fabricator belonging to the customer for the balance due from the customer for fabrication work;

(4) making, altering or repairing any article, other than livestock, or expending any labor, skill or material on it;

(5) reasonable charges for a vehicle rented as a replacement for a vehicle serviced or repaired and being retained as provided by this section.

The liens embrace all lawful charges against the property paid to any other person by the person claiming the lien, and the price or value of the care, storage or contribution and all reasonable disbursements occasioned by the detention or sale of the property.

514.20 Sale

If any sum secured by such lien be not paid within 90 days after it becomes due, the lienholder may sell the property and out of the proceeds of such sale there shall be paid, first, the disbursements aforesaid; second, all charges against the property paid by such person to any other person; and, third, the total indebtedness then secured by the lien. The remainder, if any, shall be paid on demand to the owner or other person entitled thereto. If the property subject to the lien is a motor vehicle registered in this state and subject to a certificate of title, then the lienholder must provide written notice, by registered mail, to all secured creditors listed on the certificate of title 45 days before the lienholder's right to sell the motor vehicle is considered effective. The notice must state the name, address, and telephone number of the lienholder, the amount of money owed, and the rate at which storage charges, if any, are accruing. Costs for registered mail and other reasonable costs related to complying with this notice provision constitute "lawful charges" pursuant to section 514.19 (see above). Failure to comply with the notice provision in this section renders any lien created by this chapter ineffective against any secured party listed on the certificate of title of the motor vehicle involved.

514.21 Sale, when and where made; notice

The sale herein provided for shall be made at public auction between nine o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the afternoon in the county where the property or some part thereof is situated. A notice stating the time and place of sale, the amount which will be due on the date of sale exclusive of the expenses of advertising and sale, and the grounds of the lien, giving a general description of the property to be sold, shall be served personally upon the owner of the property if the owner can be found within the county in which the property is stored, and if not, then it shall be mailed to the owner thereof at least three weeks before the time fixed for such sale if the place of residence or post office address of such owner is known by, or with due diligence can be learned by, the person claiming such lien, and shall be published once in each week for three successive weeks in a newspaper printed and published in the county where the property, or some part thereof, is situated, the last publication of such notice to be at least one week prior to the date of sale; or, if there is no newspaper printed and published in the county, then the notice of sale shall be posted in three of the most public places in the county at least three weeks before the time of sale. In case neither the place of residence nor the post office address of such owner is known to the person claiming such lien and cannot with reasonable diligence be learned, the publication or posting of notice, as herein provided, shall be sufficient to authorize such sale.

514.22 Conduct of sale

The property sold, as herein provided, shall be in view at the time of the sale. Under the power of sale hereby given enough of the property may be sold to satisfy the amount due at the time of sale, including expenses, and the property, if under cover, may be offered for sale and sold in the original packages in the form and condition that the same was received by the lienholder; but, after sufficient property has been so sold to satisfy the amount so due, no more shall be sold. The lienholder, the lienholder's representatives or assigns, may fairly and in good faith purchase any property sold under the provisions of sections 514.18 to 514.22, provided the sale is conducted by the sheriff, the sheriff's deputy, or any constable of the county where such sale is made.

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