Illinois Mechanics Liens



Illinois Compiled Statutes
- Liens -
Mechanics Lien Act


(770 ILCS 60/0.01 et seq.)


((770 ILCS 60/12)
Sec. 12. The court shall permit amendments to any part of the pleadings, and may issue process, make all orders, requiring parties to appear, and requiring notice to be given, that are or may be authorized in other civil actions and shall have the same power and jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter, and the rules of practice and proceedings in such cases shall be the same as in other civil cases, except as is otherwise provided in this act. The court shall have power to appoint receivers for property on which liens are sought to be enforced in the same manner for the same causes and for the same purposes as in cases of foreclosure of mortgages, as well as to complete any unfinished building where the same is deemed to be to the best interest of all the parties interested. (Source: Laws 1935, p. 945.)

(770 ILCS 60/13)
Sec. 13. Defendant shall answer as in other civil actions. The owner may make any defense against the contractor by way of counter claim that he could in any civil action for the payment of money, and may have the same right of recovery on proof of such in excess of the claim of the contractor against the contractor only, but for matters not growing out of the contract recovery shall be without prejudice to the rights of the sub-contractors thereunder for payment out of the contract price or fund. In any proceedings to enforce a lien on account of wages due for labor the claimant need file only an affidavit giving the amount due, between what dates the labor was performed and the kind of labor performed, and the court shall direct the amount due for wages as therein specified to be paid within a short day to be fixed by the court, unless within 10 days after the filing of the claim the amount claimed is contested by the owner or some other party to the suit. The party making such contest shall file an affidavit which shall state his defense to the allowance of the claim, and the court shall proceed at once to hear the evidence, and determine the merits of the claim, and in the event the allowance for wages is not paid within the time fixed by the court, the court shall order the premises sold to pay the amount in such manner as it directs. (Source: P.A. 79-1358.)

(770 ILCS 60/14)
Sec. 14. In no case shall the want of preparation for trial of one claim delay the trial in respect to others, but trial shall be had upon issues between such parties as are prepared without references to issue between other parties; and when one creditor shall have obtained a judgment for the amount due, the court may order a sale of the premises on which the lien operates, or a part thereof, so as to satisfy the judgment: Provided, That the court may, for good cause shown, delay making any order for sale or distribution until the rights of all parties in interest are ascertained and settled by the court. (Source: P.A. 79-1358.)

(770 ILCS 60/15)
Sec. 15. Upon all questions arising between different contractors having liens under this act, no preference shall be given to him whose contract was made first, except the claim of any person for wages by him personally performed, shall be a preferred lien. (Source: Laws 1903, p. 230.)

(770 ILCS 60/16)
Sec. 16. No incumbrance upon land, created before or after the making of the contract under the provisions of this act, shall operate upon the building erected, or materials furnished until a lien in favor of the persons having done work or furnished material shall have been satisfied, and upon questions arising between incumbrancers and lien creditors, all previous incumbrances shall be preferred to the extent of the value of the land at the time of making of the contract, and the lien creditor shall be preferred to the value of the improvements erected on said premises, and the court shall ascertain by jury or otherwise, as the case may require, what proportion of the proceeds of any sale shall be paid to the several parties in interest. All incumbrances, whether by mortgage, judgment or otherwise, charged and shown to be fraudulent, in respect to creditors, may be set aside by the court, and the premises freed and discharged from such fraudulent incumbrance. (Source: Laws 1903, p. 230.)

(770 ILCS 60/17)
Sec. 17. Costs.
(a) The costs of proceedings as between all parties to the suit shall be taxed equitably against the losing party, and where taxed against more than one party, shall be so taxed against all in favor of the proper party but equitably as between themselves; and the costs, as between creditors aforesaid in contests relative to each other's claims, shall be subject to the order of the court, and the same rule shall prevail in respect to costs growing out of the proceedings against and between incumbrances.
(b) If the court specifically finds that the owner who contracted to have the improvements made failed to pay any lien claimant the full contract price, including extras, without just cause or right, the court may tax that owner, but not any other party, the reasonable attorney's fees of the lien claimant who had perfected and proven his or her claim.
(c) If the court specifically finds that a lien claimant has brought an action under this Act without just cause or right, the court may tax the claimant the reasonable attorney's fees of the owner who contracted to have the improvements made and defended the action, but not those of any other party.
(d) "Without just cause or right", as used in this Section, means a claim asserted by a lien claimant or a defense asserted by the owner who contracted to have the improvements made, which is not well grounded in fact and warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.
(e) This amendatory Act of 1995 applies to any mechanics lien claim that is perfected on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995. (Source: P.A. 89-253, eff. 8-8-95.)

(770 ILCS 60/18)
Sec. 18. Whatever right or estate such owner had in the land at the time of making the contract may be sold in the same manner as other sales of real estate are made under orders of court. If any part of the premises can be separated from the residue, and sold without damage to the whole, and if the value thereof is sufficient to satisfy all the claims proved in the cause, the court may order a sale of that part. (Source: P.A. 79-1358.)

(770 ILCS 60/19)
Sec. 19. The court shall ascertain the amount due each lien creditor and shall direct the application of the proceeds of sale to be made to each in proportion to their several amounts, according to the provisions of this act, but the claims of all persons for labor as provided in Section 15 of this Act shall be first paid. If, upon making sale under this act of any or all premises, the proceeds of such sale shall not be sufficient to pay all claims of all parties, according to their rights, the judgment shall be credited by the amount of the sale and enforcement may proceed in favor of any creditor whose claims are not satisfied for the balance due as upon a deficiency judgment in the foreclosure of a mortgage and such deficiency judgment shall be a lien upon all real estate and other property of the party against whom it is entered to the same extent and under the same limitations as a judgment for the payment of money; and in case of excess of sales over the amount of the judgment, such excess be paid to the owner of the land, or to the person who may be entitled to the same, under the direction of the court. (Source: P.A. 81-251.)

(770 ILCS 60/20)
Sec. 20. Upon all sales under this Act the right of redemption shall exist in favor of the same persons, and may be made in the same manner as is or may be provided for redemption of real estate from sales under judgments for the payment of money. (Source: P.A. 81-251.)

(770 ILCS 60/21)
Sec. 21. Subject to the provisions of Section 5, every mechanic, worker or other person who shall furnish any materials, apparatus, machinery or fixtures, or furnish or perform services or labor for the contractor, or shall furnish any material to be employed in the process of construction as a means for assisting in the erection of the building or improvement in what is commonly termed form or form work where concrete, cement or like material is used in whole or in part, shall be known under this Act as a sub-contractor, and shall have a lien for the value thereof, with interest on such amount from the date the same is due, from the same time, on the same property as provided for the contractor, and, also, as against the creditors and assignees, and personal and legal representatives of the contractor, on the material, fixtures, apparatus or machinery furnished, and on the moneys or other considerations due or to become due from the owner under the original contract. If the legal effect of any contract between the owner and contractor is that no lien or claim may be filed or maintained by any one and the waiver is not prohibited by this Act, such provision shall be binding; but the only admissible evidence thereof as against a sub-contractor or material man, shall be proof of actual notice thereof to him before any labor or material is furnished by him; or proof that a duly written and signed stipulation or agreement to that effect has been filed in the office of the recorder of the county or counties where the house, building or other improvement is situated, prior to the commencement of the work upon such house, building or other improvement, or within 10 days after the execution of the principal contract or not less than 10 days prior to the contract of the sub-contractor or material man. The recorder shall record the same at length in the order of time of its reception in books provided by him for that purpose, and the recorder shall index the same, in the name of the contractor and in the name of the owner, in books kept for that purpose, and also in the tract or abstract book of the tract, lot, or parcel of land, upon which the house, building or other improvement is located, and the recorder shall receive therefor a fee, such as is provided for the recording of instruments in his office.
It shall be the duty of each subcontractor who has furnished, or is furnishing, materials or labor for an existing owner-occupied single family residence, in order to preserve his lien, to notify the occupant either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the occupant or his agent of the residence within 60 days from his first furnishing materials or labor, that he is supplying materials or labor; provided, however, that any notice given after 60 days by the subcontractor shall preserve his lien, but only to the extent that the owner has not been prejudiced by payments made prior to receipt of the notice. The notification shall include a warning to the owner that before any payment is made to the contractor, the owner should receive a waiver of lien executed by each subcontractor who has furnished materials or labor.
The notice shall contain the name and address of the subcontractor or material man, the date he started to work or to deliver materials, the type of work done and to be done or the type of materials delivered and to be delivered, and the name of the contractor requesting the work. The notice shall also contain the following warning:
The subcontractor providing this notice has performed work for or delivered material to your home improvement contractor. These services or materials are being used in the improvements to your residence and entitle the subcontractor to file a lien against your residence if the services or materials are not paid for by your home improvement contractor. A lien waiver will be provided to your contractor when the subcontractor is paid, and you are urged to request this waiver from your contractor when paying for your home improvements."
Such warning shall be in at least 10 point bold face type. For purposes of this Section, notice by certified mail is considered served at the time of its mailing.
In no case, except as hereinafter provided, shall the owner be compelled to pay a greater sum for or on account of the completion of such house, building or other improvement than the price or sum stipulated in said original contract or agreement, unless payment be made to the contractor or to his order, in violation of the rights and interests of the persons intended to be benefited by this act: Provided, if it shall appear to the court that the owner and contractor fraudulently, and for the purpose of defrauding sub-contractors fixed an unreasonably low price in their original contract for the erection or repairing of such house, building or other improvement, then the court shall ascertain how much of a difference exists between a fair price for labor and material used in said house, building or other improvement, and the sum named in said original contract, and said difference shall be considered a part of the contract and be subject to a lien. But where the contractor's statement, made as provided in Section 5, shows the amount to be paid to the sub-contractor, or party furnishing material, or the sub-contractor's statement, made pursuant to Section 22, shows the amount to become due for material; or notice is given to the owner, as provided in Sections 24 and 25, and thereafter such sub-contract shall be performed, or material to the value of the amount named in such statements or notice, shall be prepared for use and delivery, or delivered without written protest on the part of the owner previous to such performance or delivery, or preparation for delivery, then, and in any of such cases, such sub-contractor or party furnishing or preparing material, regardless of the price named in the original contract, shall have a lien therefor to the extent of the amount named in such statements or notice. In case of default or abandonment by the contractor, the sub-contractor or party furnishing material, shall have and may enforce his lien to the same extent and in the same manner that the contractor may under conditions that arise as provided for in section 4 of this Act, and shall have and may exercise the same rights as are therein provided for the contractor.
Any provision in a contract, agreement, or understanding, when payment from a contractor to a subcontractor or supplier is conditioned upon receipt of the payment from any other party including a private or public owner, shall not be a defense by the party responsible for payment to a claim brought under Section 21, 22, 23, or 28 of this Act against the party. For the purpose of this Section, "contractor" also includes subcontractor or supplier. The provisions of Public Act 87-1180 shall be construed as declarative of existing law and not as a new enactment. (Source: P.A. 87-361; 87-362; 87-895; 87-1180; 88-45.)

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Copyright 2002, Thomas J. Westgard