Can a contractor file a lien without a contract in Minnesota?
The answer would depend upon whether or not it can be claimed that you had a contract with the contractor. Payment in full would be a defense to the lien and would be the reason to file a quiet title action to remove the lien from the title to the property.
Minnesota law permits any party who performs engineering or land surveying services with respect to real estate, or contributes to the improvement of real estate by performing labor, or furnishing skill, material or machinery for any of the purposes hereinafter stated, whether under contract with the owner of such real estate or at the instance of any agent, trustee, contractor or subcontractor of such owner, shall have a lien upon the improvement. M.S.A. §514.01
A lien claimant must file a Statement of lien within one hundred twenty (120) days of the completion of work or forfeit his/her claim of lien. M.S.A. §514.08(1). This is accomplished with a Statement of Lien that must be filed with the county recorder within one hundred twenty (120) days of the completion of work. A copy of the Statement must be served personally or by certified mail upon the owner or his agent. M.S.A. § 514.08
Minnesota law allows a property owner to disconnect from responsibility while the work is being done. The statutes permit a party with an interest in property being improved to serve notice on the parties improving the property that the interested party will not be responsible and will not be subject to a lien. This notice must be provided by certified mail, personal service, or posting on the property within five (5) days of discovery that the work is taking place by the party in interest. M.S.A. §514.06
A quiet title action is filed by a person or entity claiming title to all or a portion of a specific parcel of property and asks for a ruling that plaintiff’s title is superior to any interest held or claimed by any of the named defendants. It is a mechanism to cure defects in the title to property, thereby providing assurance to the owner who brings the action, as well as subsequent purchasers, of the status of title and accuracy of the real property records. Reliability of real property records in the U.S. are higher than in most other countries because of quiet title actions, strict recording requirements and the involvement of title insurance companies.
A quiet title action is often brought against both known and unknown parties. Known parties are those having some record interest in title or having possession of the property. Also, unknown parties may be named and served by publication in order to terminate potential claims. Unknown parties are those who may claim an interest in the property derivative of the named parties or as a result of the subject matter of the action