Representing Businesses and Individuals in Chicago and Northern Illinois

Resolving mechanic’s lien disputes

A lot of work goes into buying or selling a home. One reason the process takes so long is that both sides must have time to resolve financial and legal issues that surface during the negotiations, inspections and paperwork. Some of the trickiest issues involve mechanic’s liens.

What is a mechanic’s lien?

A mechanic’s lien is a legal claim against a piece of property. Subcontractors use them as a way to make sure they are paid for their work. If the contractor refuses to or is unable to pay the subcontractor, the lien gives the subcontractor a legal interest in the property, which means they can be compensated for their work through a share of the proceeds when the property is sold.

Liens can be established during the construction of the property, or later during a remodel.

Unfortunately, some homebuyers and sellers are unaware of a lien until they are well into the process of transferring ownership. Learning that someone has a lien on the property can throw complex negotiations into turmoil.

Illinois protections

Illinois law provides some protections to homeowners that can help them avoid problems with mechanic’s liens. When contracting with builders and remodelers, homeowners can request a complete list of all persons supplying labor and materials. All these people must respond.

The homeowner can then request a lien waiver from all the concerned parties. By signing the waiver, the parties give up their right to place a lien on the property.

Fixing problems after the fact

Those who need help with lien issues should seek out the assistance of a real estate attorney with experience in mechanic’s lien issues.