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Do I need a real estate attorney or can I dispute lien myself?

Joliet, IL |

I had house built in 2002 by a contractor. He sub-contracted some if the work out. When the house was completed he took the final payout from myself and the bank. He came back later and said I owed him money for one of the subcontracted jobs. I am trying to sell my home and found out that he took out a mechanics lien for $7k. I have the paperwork of all the payments, how can I dispute this?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

It seems kind of surprising that the title company hasn’t removed the lien from the title insurance policy for being past the statute of limitations to have filed suit on the lien. Ask them why. If they refuse, talk to a local lawyer about having a letter to the title company demanding that it be removed or alternatively a letter to the lien claimant demanding that the lien be immediately released threatening a suit for damages if it is not done.

I am not licensed to practice in Illinois, but I believe that the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against on the lien expires 2 years after the lien claimant's last work on the project. (See section 9 of the mechanic's lien statute. I have attached a link to what I believe is the current statute). There may be more issues to be concerned about of other things that change that, but you really need to talk to a local attorney to be sure that you have the right answer. Check on Avvo for a local construction lawyer that does residential work.

I also believe that he has passed his statute of limitations to sue you on the contract. I have attached a link to a list of statutes of limitation by state. I make no representation that this is correct, but it shows that the Illinois statute of limitations for contracts is 5 years for an oral contract and 10 years for a written contract. Just because his lien might be void, he could have sued you on the contract within THAT statute of limitations.

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An 11 year old mechanic's lien is invalid and unenforceable. You can have it removed. Your real estate attorney should be able to do this for you.

I am not a IL attorney, laws vary from state to state, therefore you should always consult a local attorney.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.



I don't have a real estate attorney yet


I am not sure if you close at a title company or with a title attorney in Illinois, but if you do, their underwriter may make a determination that the statute of limitations has run and lien does not affect the property.


As a local attorney licensed in Illinois, I would need to know dates and more facts to give you an absolute answer. You may wasn't to send a letter to the sub demanding he remove the lien now. Otherwise, we can help with this if you get nowhere.