Illinois  |  Construction Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 10/17/12, 4:21 pm

A General Contractor is asking for a final waiver before final payment. If I provide a waiver with copy written across it, is the waiver still binding, meaning I lose my right to lien the property? Thank You.

1 Answer

Answered on: 10/18/12, 12:24 pm by Stephen Messutta

Apples & oranges.... Illinois law makes it clear that an owner doesn't have to pay without original waivers, and mostly likely the GC needs your waiver to get full payment from the owner.

However that has nothing to do with losing your lien rights, depending on the kind of job this was (especially it if was an owner-occupied single family residence). Preserving your lien rights in that situation requires a notice to owner w/in 60 days from when you first start work saying you are on the job and what you are doing, etc. (there are other statutory requirements) along with a warning to the owner that it should not pay the GC unless the GC produces a waiver from you as a sub.

I know a lot of GCs who work on the "float", meaning they don't have the money to pay their subs until they get money from the owner. Often it's a matter of trust. But if you've followed the statute (yes it's complicated and may be time for you to sith with a mechanic's lien attorney to understand your obligations,etc.) there are ways you can preserve your lien rights if the GC doesn't pay you and you've given an original waiver to the GC. But if you haven't done so to date and now it's the end of the job, you could be in trouble if the GC is "no good".

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