Illinois Mechanics Lien Forms
I frequently get requests for Mechanics Lien
forms. They are commercially available at most Chicago Loop office
supply stores, and at many other office supply stores and retail
building materials stores across the state but please read
the next paragraph.
I do a fair amount of work defending property
owners from invalid liens which contractors record against title.
Completing a lien properly is complex and difficult - I start
with a title search to determine all record owners and lien holders.
Most contractors have no idea what that is, let alone how to
do it properly. Actually, I usually do it myself because most
title insurance companies, who should be the world experts at
it, also don't do it correctly.* Then there's the issue of proper
service of notice, how and when, and to whom. Also, I am not
aware of any sworn statements that are available commercially,
and nothing on a form can tell you what information has to be
on it. Nine out of ten liens drafted by others (including some
attorneys), that I see are not valid, for reasons
that have nothing to do with what is on a form. I think these
forms do more harm than good, and most contractors would be better
off not having them at all, because it provides a distraction
to getting that part of the job done properly.
So, yes, you can buy a canned form, fill it
out, and record it. But in doing so, you may end up getting sued
instead of getting paid. Think of a lawyer as a subcontractor
for an unusual trade. Do-it-yourself lawyering is like do-it-yourself
asbestos abatement. Yes, it's possible, yes, it'll save money
up front, and no, it's probably not a good idea if you don't
want blowback later on. Fair warning.
* Title insurance companies generally have a standard form
contract that protects them from this type of mistake, and then
"save" money by hiring poorly trained 19-year-old high
school graduates to "analyze" the complex legal documents
at the county recorder's office. If you don't believe me, go
to the county recorder's office and see for yourself who is doing
title searches. There oughta be a law.