Illinois Lien Waiver Rules
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No Specific Form
Illinois does not require the use of any specific lien waiver form in order for the waiver to be enforceable. Any form may be used.
Notarization Not Required
Illinois lien waivers are not required to be notarized in order to be effective.
Cannot Waive Rights in Contract
Illinois statute specifically disallows any waiver of a right to claim a lien prior to performing work or furnishing materials to the project. However, a lien may be subordinated by agreement, subject to some limitations.
Can Waive Rights Before Payment
Illinois does not prohibit lien waivers prior to payment, provided the work the waiver is subject to has already been provided.
Lien waivers are pretty complex documents. But they are also unassuming because of how frequently they get exchanged on construction jobs across the country, and in Illinois. A lien waiver is basically a receipt that payment has been made for work or materials on a job. These documents are exchanged at the time of payment, and commonly attached to subcontractor pay applications or vendor invoices.
There are different types of lien releases for different types of situations. And these documents have significant consequences for everyone on a job — as it connects directly to everyone’s right to cash! Also, one pesky aspect of lien waivers is that the process of sending, requesting, tracking, and collecting lien waivers is an administrative pain that slows down the payment on a project.
Knowing everything you can about lien waivers will allow you to make your process faster. And if your process is faster, your cash will move faster; and that’s good news for everyone on the project!
- For more on lien waivers in general, see: The Ultimate Guide to Lien Waivers in Construction
Illinois lien waiver laws
Illinois lien waivers are mostly unregulated, at least with respect to the language and form of the lien waivers in order to be effective. This doesn’t mean that anything goes, however.
Illinois does not provide lien waiver form templates, or otherwise provide guidance as to what the language or form of a lien waiver should be in order to be effective. Parties on an Illinois construction project have the freedom to choose the exact format and language of lien waivers.
However, there are some limitations on how and when contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers can waive their lien rights in Illinois. Illinois does have some limited protections around the rights of the parties, even though it does not have specific regulations on the lien waiver document and exchange process itself. Illinois statutes specifically disallow any waiver of a right to claim a lien prior to performing work or furnishing materials to the project. However, an Illinois lien may be subordinated by agreement, subject to some limitations, and such subordination can end up working like a waiver.
In Illinois, like everywhere, construction stakeholders must be mindful of the impact of a lien waiver. Though the documents are routinely exchanged, they can be consequential. The resources, forms, guides, and frequently asked questions about Illinois Lien Waivers on this page will help you get it right.