Can a designer file a mechanic lien if they are not a registerd or licensed designer in the State of Illinois?
Apr 23, 2018
First, it's worth noting that Illinois is a state where lien rights are, in fact, available to parties serving as architects, engineers, and construction managers. In a number of states, lien rights aren't available to these parties. Anyway, the Illinois mechanics lien statute does not explicitly state that unlicensed parties cannot file an Illinois mechanics lien. However, some fairly recent case law in Illinois indicated that an unlicensed architects might not be able to enforce a filed mechanics lien, but it's still a bit of a grey area. As such, a claimant may be able to file their mechanics lien - but it's eventual enforcement or foreclosure could be a problem. It's worth noting, though, that mechanics lien claims rarely get to the point that enforcing the lien becomes necessary. Further, as long as a lien claim has been filed in good faith, a claimant can typically release their lien claim and pursue some other course of recovery if there's significant pushback as to the validity of their lien. Finally, it's worth mentioning that Illinois is one of the few states where a Notice of Intent to Lien must be made prior to a lien filing - but it's only required when a claimant is not under direct contract with the property owner. Even if not required, though, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien serves as a final warning shot that, if payments are not made, a lien will be filed. Sending a last warning such as a Notice of Intent to Lien can speed up payment without having to actually file a mechanics lien. Granted, if a lien deadline is fast approaching, a claimant shouldn't risk missing their lien deadline in an effort to recover through a Notice of Intent. Of course, if a Notice of Intent to Lien is required of a claimant prior to filing, there's really no decision to be made - the claimant must first send a Notice of Intent before a lien claim filing is a valid, available option.