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What to do if customer do not pay final bill after construction is done?

IllinoisLawsuitMechanics LienPayment DisputesRight to Lien

Association began balcony reconstruction project but home owners have to hire contractor. Contractor made his proposal, customer signed it, association approved it and village gave permit for construction. After construction is dun, village inspector made final report confirming that everything is properly done. Contractor sent copy of this report and his final bill to his customer on December 10, 2018 , However he did not receive any checks and customer don't answer the phone. What hell we do?

1 reply

Jan 31, 2019
I'm sorry to hear that you are not getting paid what you have earned. Slow payment or non-payment is frustrating, and can have serious effects on your business.

In Illinois, a party who contracted directly with the property owner is not required to send any preliminary notice in order to retain lien rights. Accordingly, even if the project is over, a contractor may still have the ability to file a mechanics lien, or threaten to file a mechanics lien, in order to get paid.

There are many reasons why a mechanics lien can help contractors get paid. But, the most powerful reason is that a lien encumbers the improved property, and allows a claimant to enforce the lien by foreclosing on the property itself, in the same way a bank can if the owner fails to pay the mortgage.

Because this remedy is so strong, even the threat of a mechanics lien can be effective to get a property owner to pay what is due. Sending a notice of intent to lien to the property owner can be a successful method to prompt payment. And, if it doesn't work to get payment flowing, the lien itself may be an option.

A direct contractor in Illinois must file a lien within 4 months after completion of work to get priority over both the owner and third parties, and must be filed within 2 years after completion of work to prevail over solely the original owner. Sending a notice of intent to lien or filing a lien claim can be easy, if you look in the right spot. You can do either right from your computer here: https://app.zlien.com/wizard/SelectDocument

If a mechanics lien is not the path chosen to obtain payment, there may be other options, as well. Filing a lawsuit for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or pursuant to prompt payment laws, (whether in small claims or general court depending on amount) or using outsourced collections could be other options.

No matter what path you choose, I hope you get paid.
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