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Homeowners can take steps to prevent mechanic's liens

Everyone wants to get paid for the work they do. This includes subcontractors who usually rely on general contractors to make sure they receive payment. Similarly, owners rely on general contractors to make sure everyone gets paid. The problem that some Illinois property owners may run into is the fact that the general contractor fails to pay everyone for their services.

Like property owners across the country, Illinois owners are not spared liability just because they paid the general contractor for work to be done by a subcontractor. A mechanic's lien could be filed against the property regardless of whether the owner was involved in the failure to pay. Fortunately, owners can take certain steps to help ensure that they end up with a fully constructed property free from mechanic's liens.

Owners could insist on lien waivers from all subcontractors acknowledging they received payment. Any checks written for goods or services could be made out to both the subcontractor and the general contractor to ensure payment to the subcontractor. Property owners could also take it upon themselves to pay subcontractors directly in order to remove any question regarding whether payment was made.

Just as important for owners is the ability to prove that all subcontractors received the payments they were owed. Receipts and other documentation of payments to subcontractors could help resolve any issues before they arise. If mechanic's liens are already filed against the property, the documentation kept by the owner may help to resolve the issue as well. If the problem is the general contractor, the owner's documentation of payment could direct both the owner and the subcontractor to the general contractor for resolution, which could result in the removal of the lien.

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