Illinois Mechanic’s lien–Commercial Pre-lien Notice
If you are a subcontractor on a commercial Illinois project, step one before filing a mechanic’s lien is to serve the pre-lien notice. Here is some general information on the subject.
90-Day Notice (Commercial and Residential Projects)
Name of Notice: Subcontractor’s Notice of Intention to File a Mechanic’s Lien (90-Day Notice). The same basic format and content is used for residential and commercial projects—in fact the notices are identical. For example, the 60-Day Notice is given at the start of the project (within 60 days of first furnishing labor or materials), while the 90-Day Notice is given when you have completed your work (within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials).
Who Must Use Use this Notice: All contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material/equipment suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the owner or the owner’s agent. Included within the definition of “agent” is a construction manager for the owner. This means if you are a general contractor having a direct contractual relationship with the owner, you do not have to serve the pre-lien notice before your mechanic’s lien. The Illinois statutes define all persons who do not have a direct contract with the owner as “subcontractors” regardless of their license status or the type of work performed (For example, a roofer, plumber or electrician).
The notice is required on both commercial and residential projects. In essence, it is like giving a warning shot before you file your mechanics lien. Hopefully, it will set up serious settlement negotiations so you do not have to file that lien.
Thus, if you are a subcontractor working on a residential project, you will be serving two prelien notices: 1) the 60-Day Notice at the beginning of the project and 2) the 90-Day Notice at the end of the project. And, if you are a subcontractor working on a commercial project, you would only serve the 90-Day Notice.
Remember that Illinois mechanic’s lien is somewhat unforgiving, which means the pre-lien notices are a condition precedent to such filing.