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Can a non-licensed contractor apply a mechanic's lien

IllinoisMechanics LienRight to Lien

I have a situation where I was as to fix a roof on a barn for a lady and the first weeks hours were tallied and the amounts was paid but this week's hours she refuses to pay stating that we were not working for an hourly amount instead we were working as if it was a hard money bid which was never discussed nor agreed upon nor was it so the week prior when we were paid for hours worked. Now she is under refusal to pay and although and unlicensed contractor I feel I should be able to apply for a mechanic's lien until are amount is satisfied and furthermore now we have to go back and put the barn in a safe condition causing more lost in time and man-hours. So my question is can an unlicensed contractor such as myself mechanic's lien against a non-paying customer?

1 reply

Jul 19, 2019
This is a great question, and one that can have a significantly different answer depending on a number of factors.

In Illinois, there are no specific licensing requirements contemplated by the mechanics lien law itself. However, Illinois courts have slightly modified what may be necessary. In the case G.M. Fedorchak and Associates the court found two architects lacked capacity to foreclose on a mechanics lien because they weren’t licensed. So, it appears design professionals may be required to be licensed to foreclose on a mechanics lien.

It's worth noting, however, that Illinois does not have issue state-level licenses or have licensing requirements other than for public projects, and for roofing. Usually in Illinois, licensing requirements must be checked at the local level.

While it is never a good idea to perform work for which a license is required without having that particular license, the ability to file a mechanics lien is often not specifically limited to parties who have a license. To the extent that a lien is filed or a payment dispute is otherwise escalated, it is also worth noting that there are requirements for home improvement contracts to the extent a residence is being constructed or improved.
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