Mechanic's liens are available in Illinois pursuant to the Mechanic's Lien Act compiled under 770 ILCS 60 for contractors, subcontractors, material or equipment suppliers, architects, and other design professionals.
A lien is a type of property interest, like a mortgage, in which the lienor retains a claim against the property if it is later sold. The lienor can also force a sale through foreclosure. Illinois only authorizes mechanic's liens on private projects, not those associated with public (government) entities.
When you provide labor or materials on a contract job and the client never pays the invoice, filing a mechanic's lien is the next step in recovering the amount due. NOTE: Subcontractors must individually file 60-day (owner-occupied residential projects only) and 90-day notices to access their lien rights.
Mechanic's liens demand strict deadlines and missing the filing date by even one day can cost you your right to a lien. In Illinois, the time to file a lien arises within four months from the last date you or any of your employees furnished labor or delivered materials to the jobsite. The four-month period applies to your right against all third parties and subsequent owners. You have two years to file suit against the original owner to foreclose on a mechanic's lien. 770 ILCS 60/9.
The claim for lien must state the parties to the contract and its terms, identify the general contractor and all upper tier subcontractors, include a description of the work completed or materials delivered, state a legal description of the owner's property, and state the total amount due and unpaid as of the date the notice is recorded. The lien amount includes the invoice amount owed minus all credits and offsets. A lienor may not include extras such as attorney's fees or lost profits, but may charge interest measured by the legal rate in Illinois. 770 ILCS 60/1(a).
Before recording the lien, sign it in the presence of a notary public who then notarizes it with his or her seal. The lien should be recorded at the recording office for the county where the property is situated. For residential projects, you must serve the owner with a copy of the recorded lien within ten days' time.
The deadlines for filing a lien are set in stone, and failure to file on time will cost you your right to a lien. Additionally, putting in improper amounts or exaggerating the claim will invalidate the lien. If you lose your lien rights, the only remedy is to sue the property owner under contract law.
Each case is unique. Contact an attorney with specific questions regarding filing a claim or any other issues related to mechanic's liens in Illinois.
Deeds.com Illinois Mechanics Lien Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday February 1, 2018