Matthew Miner's Basic-ish BlogMatthew Miner's Blog

Sometimes I might say something

Landscaping is a good job that many people do either full-time or on the side. However, people aren't always willing to pay you for providing them your services after the work's been done. Many landscapers are small enterprises that may not have a great process to ensure payment and may not know what their rights are under the law.

One idea is the possibility of filing a mechanic's lien. These allow people get a security interest in the property for certain work they do on a property. Typically these are done in the context of construction though, not landscaping. However, landscaping is work on a property, so could it qualify?

In Illinois, the Mechanics Lien Act does grant mechanics’ liens for “landscape work”, however case law restricts this and says that “mere preservation and maintenance of value does not reach the level of enhancement required by the Act”. Watson v. Watson, 218 Ill. App. 3d 397 at 400, 578 N.E.2d 275 (3d Dist. 1991). The landscaping would have to raise the value of the property to be eligible for a lien, not just maintain its current value.

So, for instance, just routinely mowing a lawn for someone would not entitle you file a mechanic's lien on the property. However, doing major work to correct drainage issues or to install an ornamental garden may rise to the level of enhancement needed to qualify. If you think there's a possibility you might be entitled to a mechanic's lien, you should consult with a lawyer promptly to ensure any rights you have are exercised correctly.

The above is my understanding of the law. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. This post does not constitute legal advice. I make no warranty as to its accuracy or applicability to you. If you need a lawyer, get a lawyer. If you want me specifically, hire me.

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