New Illinois Law Will Allow Parties on Private Projects to Substitute Surety Bonds for Mechanics Lien Claims

As of January 1, 2016, the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act (“Act”) will contain an amendment that allows a property owner, contractor, subcontractor, or other party with interest in real property that is subject to a mechanics lien claim to substitute a surety bond in place for the mechanics lien claim. The procedure, referred to as “bonding off” a mechanics lien claim, will allow an interested party to file a petition with the county where the property is located to bond off a mechanics lien claim filed against the property. Alternatively, if there is already a pending claim to enforce the lien, within five months after the filing of the complaint, the interested party can apply to become a party itself and file a claim to bond off the lien claim.

This new amendment looks to benefit many parties involved in typical claims. For instance, a property owner will now be able to substitute a claimant’s lien on the property with a surety for the claimant in the event the claimant prevails on the claim. The amendment also helps affected parties supplying the construction activities to a project, as the surety bond will easily cover the amount in dispute (as the new law requires that the bond be valued at 175% of the amount claimed).

This new change will help ease the flow and progression of private projects that fall prey to mechanics lien claims, since there will be less likelihood of parties to have to wait out the resolution of the mechanics lien claim itself and final disposition of the subject property.