Illinois Mechanic Lien Time Limits

July 25, 2022
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If you run a business that provides building, repair, or recovery services, most times that involves providing some level of services first and then getting paid for completion. In most cases, the services meet the satisfaction and the client pays. However, sometimes the client fails to meet their financial obligations, leaving the service provider in a pinch.

To address this, the Illinois legal system provides a remedy. Unfortunately, it is also misapplied, negatively impacting a property owner. The Illinois waiver of lien defense provides a viable solution in such cases.

What is a Mechanic Lien?

Illinois lien law provides a remedy for businesses in the repair and construction industries to ensure they are properly paid for services rendered. Similar to other states, Illinois laws provide a mechanics lien, essentially the ability to assert a temporary title to the property involved in a repair to secure payment for work performed.

The legal remedy benefits all types of repair services, ranging from licensed independent contractors to car mechanics to construction firms to landscaping and irrigation vendors. However, the mechanic lien process isn’t a simple request. You should meet specific legal requirements to file it correctly.

Time Limits Surrounding a Mechanic Lien

Mechanics liens rights are limited by the times set forth in the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act. Once those time limits pass you a contractor severely prejudices its rights, if not loses them, against the property

Illinois sets a rule that filing a mechanics lien must be at the latest within four months after the completion of work provided to be good against the owner, any lien claimants or subsequent owners. Anything beyond that prejudices the claim. A mechanics lien can be recorded after 4 months and within 2 years of the last date of work but it will only be good against the original owner.  Furthermore, subcontractors, those that are hired by a general contractor, must submit notice of their lien claim within 90 days of their last date of furnishing.  All contractors must file a lawsuit to enforce their lien claims within two (2) years or else their lien will expire.  Lien deadlines cannot be extended or renewed and the time limits must be closely followed.    

Defending Yourself from a Mechanic Lien

A key factor in defense includes pointing out that a lien has been incorrectly filed. Illinois law requires that a mechanics lien needs to have specific information and provable statements included based on facts of services provided. Furthermore, the lien claim has to be accurately prepared as well. Otherwise, the filing will may be dismissed by the court. The information required in a mechanics lien claim includes:

  1. Identification of the claimant as well as address details.
  2. The property owner’s identification as well as any mortgagees or other lien holders s.
  3. The main contractor’s address and identification.
  4. Identification of the party responsible for hiring the service and their address.
  5. A brief description of the contract and work at issue.
  6. The work completion date or last date of furnishing .
  7. Amounts still due for payment, adjusted for offsets and mitigation.
  8. Identification of the property involved including the address, PIN and legal description.

In short, all of the elements create areas that, if not met, represent a defensible weakness to an improperly filed lien that an Illinois mechanics lien attorney can address.

How an Attorney Can Help

Because the defense against the filing of a mechanics lien is very much a legal strategy and procedure, especially with the Illinois waiver of lien remedy, the hiring of a mechanics lien attorney is highly recommended when facing a potential lien filing. Especially in cases where the property owner is being put on the hot seat for work someone else should have paid, a solid defense can avoid years of headaches that otherwise occur with property caught in lien holdings.

Liens can prevent transactions on the property, return it to the property owner or, in some cases, force the sale of the property to satisfy the payment due. So, it’s in the best interest of the owner to prevent a mechanic lien in the first place.

Grzymala Law Offices, P.C. has worked with dozens of Illinois clients in tackling troublesome lien issues. From guiding clients on how to fill out a waiver of lien in Illinois to providing defense representation as a Chicago mechanics lien lawyer office, Grzymala Law Offices can tackle some of the toughest challenges in the lien world hands down.  Call us now and take the first step in filing a lien.