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Can I use the lien process if there is no written contract?

IllinoisMechanics LienRight to Lien

I did concrete slab for a storage facility. The owner used to be my landlord and he requested the work to be done. He asked for a cost in and I gave the price based on the square footage he told me ($10K). Once, at the job site, the square footage turned to be more than what he said so he verbally agreed to pay the difference (total of $12K). Now he is refusing to pay the actual amount. I want to know if I can lien based on the total invoice amount without a written agreement. Price was determined based on total sq. ft.

1 reply

Dec 4, 2018
This is a great question. While there are a few states that mandate written contracts in order for work to give rise to mechanics lien rights, that is the minority position. Most states, including Illinois, do not specifically require a written contract, any contact is sufficient.

In Illinois, liens may arise in favor of parties who perform work to improve property pursuant to any contract "express or implied, or partly expressed or implied." And, in fact, Illinois even allows for a mechanics lien in favor of "Any person furnishing labor, services, material, fixtures, apparatus or machinery, forms or form work for the erection of a building, or structure, or improvement, by mistake upon land owned by another than the party contracting as owner."

While it's a best practice to have written contracts in order to provide a record of what was actually agreed (and it can be required for some types of work) in many circumstances, having a written contract is not a specific requirements for mechanics lien rights.
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