Dispute the unpaid balance. Cheatham by

4 days ago

How do you dispute the unpaid balance of an unsigned contract if the work was deficient and the contractor filed a lien?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset
41 reviews

Once a lien is filed, it must be enforced within a certain amount of time or the lien dissolves and becomes unenforceable. During the enforcement action, which is a full-blown foreclosure lawsuit, the property owner (or other interested party) can attack the validity of the lien, the lien amount, and/or make counter-claims against the lien claimant for damages.

In Illinois, the general deadline by which an enforcement lawsuit must be initiated is 2 years after the completion of the project giving rise to the lien. However, this time period can be dramatically shortened by the property owner who wants to get the lien off the property and dispute its validity.

Pursuant to § 60/34, a property owner can demand that the lien claimant initiate an enforcement lawsuit within 30 days or the lien will be completely forfeited. If the suit is commenced the property owner can raise all defenses and counter-claims, and if the suit isn’t commenced within 30 days the lien is extinguished. Since a written contract is not specifically required in order to claim a lien in Illinois, a dispute would likely involve the determination of the amount owed, if any, and procedural issues related to the claim of lien.

Illinois allows for a property owner to make a “slander of title” claimwhich may be applicable if a lien is knowingly false or fraudulent.

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