When & how to send a lien.

2 weeks ago

Hello, I am a lawn care and landscaping company in IL. I read on your site that even if someone has not paid me for mowing for lets say 3 months ($500) I cannot place a lien on them correct? Because the service has to result in permanent value added to the property? Second I was wondering if it would be smart to had a notice of lien to any landscape contract that I am giving out as long as the job is over $500? I am currently just using a collection agency but am looking for something more effective. Again I am located in Illinois. Thank you for any and all advice.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
136 reviews

Illinois landcapers are generally entitled to file mechanics liens, as set out by § 60/1(b). Though, as you mention above, keep in mind that there must typically be some permanent improvement to the project property in order for mechanics lien rights to arise. Mere maintenance type work will usually not give rise to lien rights, like regular mowing. However, the statute doesn’t define the word “landscaping.” More about Illinois lien rights here: Illinois Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs.

As for adding a Notice of Intent to Lien to all landscaping contracts – that might be a bit excessive and could scare customers off. Certainly, it could make sense to a brief clause in a contract that lets the customer know that lien rights will be pursued if payment isn’t made. However, notifying an owner of the intent to lien from the very get-go might not be a great idea.

Recovering payment before a mechanics lien filing comes into play

Mechanics liens should be a bit of a last resort. And, it’s usually a good idea to utilize some other payment strategies before landing on a lien.

For one, sending a simple invoice reminder is often enough to get paid. Often, a nudge in the right direction is all that’s needed. Or, if a dispute is unfolding, raising the stakes with a demand letter might be a good option. Demand letters will typically put a hard deadline for making payment and include legal threats that will be undertaken if payment isn’t made. Finally, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is another powerful tool, even if sending one isn’t required. Because mechanics liens are such a strong tool, the threat of a lien goes a long way too.

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.
Guest
Anonymous

Awesome thanks for the info! Is there brief clause that Levelset usually uses that I could put in a contract that lets the customer know that lien rights that would be pursued if payment isn’t made. If not is there one you could possibly help me with that I could include.

Thanks again

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
136 reviews

Unfortunately, Levelset doesn’t currently have any preferred language or offer any contract clauses which warn about potential lien filings. But, something simple, non-threatening, and to the point should work perfectly fine. As mentioned above, it’s important to balance the message.

For advice on what a lien warning clause might look like, it might be helpful to consult with a local Illinois construction attorney.

I’m glad you found the information above helpful!

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.
Your answer or comment:
Are you a Registered Expert?
You are not logged in and will be posting
anonymously. Log in Now