Machanics lien

3 weeks ago

What are my options if a contractor does not complete a job,does not provide a contract and tries to cut corners instead of doing the job properly. He promised to get the job done by a certain date and did not. Now he wants complete payment for the job even though it’sNot complete and is threatening to file a lien on my property. The claim is only $1000, but I’m going to have to have somebody else come in and complete his work. Thank you in advance for your response.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

Illinois isn’t a state that requires a written contract be in place in order for a mechanics lien to be filed, on a general basis. Further, the requirements for home improvement contracts there don’t seem to apply unless the project exceeds $1,000. Those contracts must be in writing – but, where the project was for $1,000 or less, a written contract is not explicitly required.

Of course, regardless of any contract requirements, an Illinois mechanics lien claimant cannot file a lien for amounts they’re not owed. And, if a lien claimant exaggerates their lien claim, their lien would likely be deemed invalid and unenforceable at best, and fraudulent at worst.

As far as what options are available – I think this article addresses the topic really well: I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?

Essentially, an owner can continue to negotiate with the claimant, can refuse to make further payments, and/or can start involving an attorney in order to help try and fend off a potential lien claim. While there might not be much an owner can do, procedurally, to fend off a lien claim before it’s filed, a lien claimant might be less inclined to file their lien if the owner has laid out why the claim would be improper and has shown they’ll fight any claim tooth and nail.

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