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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I have been asked by our customer to provide a partial lien release because they have a $76,618.50 check ready for us. I was told that the state of Illinois does not offer partial release of liens. Can we file a lien amendment to the original lien with a new total or do we have to release the entire lien? Obviously we do not want to release the entire lien amount. How do you think we should proceed?

I have been asked by our customer to provide a partial lien release because they have a $76,618.50 check ready for us. I was told that the state of Illinois does not offer partial release of liens. Can we file a lien amendment to the original lien with a new total or do we have to release the entire lien? Obviously we do not want to release the entire lien amount. How do you think we should proceed?

IllinoisLien ReleasesMechanics Lien

Our customer has payment ready for us. Wants to see that we have releleased the lien (partial). I was told that in Illinois it's all or nothing. And that this would be a risk, the county clerk may not guarantee this.

1 reply

Mar 12, 2019
Attempting to record a partial release of a filed lien can be tricky and dangerous, especially in states that do not specifically provide for such a reduction in lien amount, and can be double-especially dangerous in Illinois.

While a "Partial Release of Lien" can be drafted and recorded by a lien claimant, it can be difficult to determine the actual outcome of such an action. If the time period for originally recording the lien has not passed, it may be possible to file an amended or new lien for the amount due - but doing so can result in the the lien being fully released on accident, the recording can be refused, or other complications can occur.

While not specifically a "partial" release, Illinois courts have determined that once a lien release is recorded, the claimant has forever given up its claims for any mechanics liens claims on the project. The courts have determined that a release of lien pursuant to Section 35 of the Mechanics Lien Act ("Satisfaction or Release") provides that when a release of lien is recorded, it completely discharges the lien claim forever, and bars all actions that could be brought to foreclose the lien claim. A claimant may still pursue an action under breach of contract or other cause of action, but mechanics lien enforcement is off the table. In one particular case the liens were removed pursuant to an agreement to pay once the owner obtained more funds from the lender, which couldn't be accomplished until and unless the liens were released.

Accordingly, it's important to carefully consider requests to release liens prior to payment. Also worth noting is that mechanics liens secure the amount of labor and materials furnished to the project but unpaid. In the event a claimant receives a partial payment, and then attempts to foreclose on the lien - the lien may not be enforced beyond the extent to which the claimant is due money that has not been paid.
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