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Chicago Attorneys Litigate Mechanics Lien

Aggressive representation for parties in commercial real estate disputes

A mechanics lien is a necessary tool for contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers who may need to ensure payment for their goods and services. However, when contractors neglect to pay their subcontractors, innocent property owners and developers who’ve fulfilled their contractual obligations can find themselves targets of a lien. mechanics liens often involve complex relationships and duties, not to mention occasional bad faith actions, which require legal knowledge and experience to sort out. Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC provides aggressive representation for various parties to commercial real estate agreements. If you’re a property owner trying to get out from under an invalid mechanics lien, we know what must be done to get the results you want.

Helping commercial real estate owners remove mechanics liens

A mechanics lien is an encumbrance that can make it difficult, if not impossible, to finance the continuing work on a commercial development or to sell the finished property.  If your property has been slapped with a lien, you need to act decisively to have the lien removed. You may have an affirmative defense to the lien:

  • Lack of notice — The subcontractor must serve notice of claim within 90 days of its last date of work.
  • Statute of limitations — The subcontractor has only two years from its last date of work to file a lawsuit to foreclose on its lien claim.
  • Defects in the form of the lien — Misidentification of parties and an incorrect legal description of the dispute can doom the claim.
  • Invalid claim — The lien claim contains amounts for services or materials that are not lienable.

Of course, it’s always best to eliminate the possibility of a lien while the work is ongoing. One effective strategy is to demand a contractor’s affidavit ahead of payment, and then collect lien waivers from each named  subcontractor immediately in exchange for payment.

Holding an “insolvent” contractor accountable to its subcontractors

A complex situation arises when the owner has paid the contractor, but the contractor fails to pay subcontractors and material suppliers. Under the contract, the developer can be responsible for those payments. Occasionally, a contractor who has not paid the subcontractors will claim to be insolvent, and may even declare bankruptcy. This is sometimes a case of hidden assets, where the soon-to-go-belly-up contractor has made fraudulent transfers of funds to frustrate its creditors. Fortunately, at Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC, our mechanics lien attorneys are also authorities on fraudulent transfer, and know exactly what must be done to unwind those transactions and recover your funds.

When you’re feeling crushed beneath a mechanics lien, call Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC

Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC finds creative solutions for commercial real estate developers in disputes over mechanics liens. We represent property owners throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, including Cook, DuPage and Lake counties. Call us 312-436-1442 today or contact our firm online to schedule a consultation.