What do I do after a lien and the customer still doesn’t pay?

6 months ago

I’ve purchased your services before and nothing happened (didn’t get paid). Now I’ve another customer refusing to pay ($4,800).

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
353 reviews

Most mechanics lien claims are paid without the need for additional action being taken on the claim. Mechanics liens are extremely powerful recovery tools and they’re often both the most effective and efficient tool for recovery. With that being said – every dispute is different, and mechanics liens certainly aren’t an absolute guarantee that payment will be made.

Before diving in, this resource should be helpful: The 4 Steps to Take After Filing a Mechanics Lien.

After a lien is filed, it’s time to negotiate payment

Once a mechanics lien has been filed, it’s usually time to talk payment with the customer and/or property owner. The period after filing a lien (but before enforcing the filed lien) is a good time to negotiate payment before further action becomes necessary. That’s why the period for enforcing a lien is so long – generally, 2 years from the completion of lienable work in Illinois. Those 2 years provide time to try and resolve the matter before enforcement becomes necessary.

Notice of Intent to Foreclose

What’s more, because enforcement of a lien is such a drastic measure and could lead to the property’s foreclosure, merely threatening to enforce a filed lien claim will often be an effective tool, itself. Sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Foreclose can force payment where a customer or owner remains reluctant to pay even after a lien has been filed.

Sometimes, mechanics lien enforcement may be necessary

It’s unfortunate, but true: A mechanics lien claimant may have to enforce their lien claim in order to get paid. Nobody likes liens, and everyone really hates lawsuits – but the ability to enforce a lien claim is there for a reason. So, escalating things a step further by filing a mechanics lien enforcement suit could still lead to payment, too. Often, when lien enforcement suits are undertaken, the parties will settle before the dispute gets too far along. But, if necessary, it could lead to the foreclosure of the project property – which would lead to the payment of the debt at hand.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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