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How to have our funds released

IllinoisMechanics LienPayment Disputes

Hi, I had one of your customer care specialists return my message and told me to reach out to you with this situation. We hope you can help us & thank you for your time! We filed a lein against a customer who has since sold the property AND CLOSED. First, we did not think that was even possible seeing we never were paid nor did we release the lein. When we called the title company they said they put the money in an escrow account with an attorney & to reach out to him. We have since called 5 times now, which has stretched over a 5 week period, and have yet to receive. We think they're trying to stretch the time until lein is voided and never pay us. Our question to you is, is this even legal for the attorney to be doing? What other options are available for us to get our funds from this attorney?Thank you

1 reply

Apr 24, 2018
I hope so, too! I'll first note that mechanics liens create serious issues for property owners, especially when they attempt to sell their property. For obvious reasons, a purchaser of a property will want to inherit a clear property title, and prospective buyers will typically require that all lien claims be resolved and released prior to closing. However, transferring a property with a mechanics lien attached is entirely possible. When the lien was filed will be important, though - if a lien was filed within the first 4 months of completion of the project, the lien is effective against all parties - including subsequent purchasers. A lien filed later than 4 months (but sooner than 2 years) will still be effective - but only against the party who owned the project property at the time of the lien filing. This means that, if the lien was filed within the 4 month deadline described above, the lien will remain effective even if the property has been sold to some third party. So there still may be an ability to recover from the new property owners even if an original owner fails to pay. Anyway, as for recovering escrow from the original owner's attorney - that can be tricky. Further, an attorney purposefully evading calls is at best ethically questionable. However, dealing with an opposing attorney and a title company can be tricky business - considering how far the dispute has gone, it might be a good idea to obtain your own construction attorney. They'll be able to (1) take a deeper dive into the circumstances surrounding your claim and help provide a path for moving forward; and (2) help navigate how to deal with the opposing attorney and the title company.
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