We have unpaid invoices for two contracts for work completed for one customer on one building. Do i need to file separate liens or can it be filed in 1 lien.

4 months ago

We have a hoist and a scaffold on a property called Nobu Hotel with a GC named Centaur. They owe us for invoices from the hoist contract and scaffold contract. Is it ok to file one lien to cover both contracts? The project is located in Chicago, IL.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

I’m sorry to hear you’ve had trouble getting paid here. Generally, when working under multiple contracts, the safest way to proceed will be to pursue separate lien claims for each contract. It might not be the most efficient way of going about things, but at least that way the fear over whether or not the liens would be valid would be subdued some, at least regarding the issue of whether 1 or more liens should be filed. And, it’s not unheard of that one mechanics lien for debts owed under multiple contracts might be tossed aside – even when the separate contracts contributed to the same project. We discuss a situation where a Florida judge did just that in this article: Can You File One Lien While Working Under Multiple Contracts?

Looking at the Illinois lien statute, specifically – there’s reason to believe that one lien might be available when working under multiple contracts. § 60/1(a) of the state’s lien statute provides the right to file a lien to anyone who provides work which permanently improves property “… by any contract or contracts…” So, the lien statute contemplates that one party may provide work to the same job under multiple contracts, but it does not discuss anything regarding filing multiple liens. As a result, it might be fair to conclude that one lien based on work done for multiple contracts might be sufficient.

But, as discussed above, the safest way to proceed when working under multiple separate contracts might be to proceed with multiple separate liens. While one lien might potentially be sufficient, it could also risk the ability to claim payment that is significantly more than the added effort and expense of filing separate claims.

For more information on Illinois liens: Illinois Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs.

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