Certain construction participants in Illinois have to serve certain preliminary notices before they can successfully record a mechanics lien. Failing to deliver the required Illinois preliminary notices can unfortunately limit, if not completely nullify, their lien rights over the project at hand.
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There are two important Illinois preliminary notices to remember: the Illinois 60-day Preliminary Notice and the Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien. This guide will walk you through the process of serving a valid Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois, including the deadlines and requirements.
- Who must serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois?
- When do you serve a 90-day Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois?
- What happens if you fail to serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois?
- How to serve an Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien
- Best practices when serving an Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien
Who must serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois?
Parties who do not have a direct contract with the property owner must serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois. Note that the Notice of Intent to Lien may be filed by construction parties working on any type of project, be it commercial or residential.
Also note that certain parties may be required to serve both the 60-Day Preliminary Notice and the Notice of Intent to Lien. If you are working on a single-family owner-occupied property and you have no direct contractual relationship with the property owner, then you have to serve both notices.
When do you serve a 90-day Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois?
The Notice of Intent to Lien must be served within 90 days of the day you last furnished labor or materials to a project. This pre-lien notice is served when your work on a project has already wrapped up and there are still outstanding payments that you are waiting to receive.
What happens if you fail to serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Illinois?
Failing to serve an Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien on time will not necessarily preclude you from filing a valid mechanics lien. However, the amount that you write on your Notice of Intent to Lien form could determine the amount that you can recover from the owner if there are any discrepancies.
How to serve an Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien
1. Prepare the Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien form
Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 24 says that an Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien form must have the following information:
1. Name of owner
This is the full name of the property owner. You may gather this information from the general contractor or the party who hired you.
2. Name of general contractor (hiring party)
This is the name of the general contractor or the party who directly hired you.
3. Description of the contract or the work done
This is a brief description of the services that you furnished to the property.
4. Description of the property
This is a description of the property location that must be sufficient for identification. It can be a legal property description or a specific street address.
5. Claim amount
This is the amount of payment that you are trying to claim.
6. Date when the notice is signed
This is the date when you sign and preliminary notice.
This is your signature, or the signature of the party who is signing on your behalf. You may also add the name and designation of person who signs the notice.
The Illinois notice of intent to lien may substantially follow this template from the Illinois Statutes:
Be sure to double-check the information that you write on the Notice of Intent to Lien template to avoid any issues or confusion.
2. Deliver the Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien to the property owner
The Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien must be delivered to the property owner via registered or certified mail with return receipt requested. In Illinois, a preliminary notice is generally considered served on the day of mailing.
You have 90 days after your last day of work to serve the Notice of Intent to Lien on the property owner. To avoid potential issues, you should serve your Notice of Intent to Lien way before the 90-day deadline expires.
Best practices when serving an Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien
1. Prepare the Illinois 90-day Notice of Intent to Lien early
Having a working template for your Illinois Notice of Intent is a good business practice so you do not have to start from scratch every time you work on an Illinois construction project. Even before you finish working on a project, you should already start gathering the required information such as the name and address of the property owner and the name of the general contractor. This way you have all the details you need way before the 90-day deadline for serving this preliminary notice.
2. Verify the accuracy of the details that you include in your Notice of Intent to Lien
The amount that you write on your Illinois Notice of Intent to Lien is very important, so make sure that this amount is true and accurate. You should also double-check the spelling of the names and addresses that you include in the form. Even though the statutory template only requires a signature, you should still write the name and the official designation of the party who will sign that preliminary notice.
3. Record an Illinois mechanics lien if payment issues come up
The Notice of Intent to Lien warns a property owner about your intent to record a mechanics lien. This preliminary notice is often effective in nudging an owner to release your payment, but if payment issues remain unsettled, you should go ahead and file a mechanics lien. Filing an Illinois mechanics lien is the most powerful weapon to ensure that you get paid for all the work that you did.