Articles for Homeowners

Homeowners

ILLINOIS LAW SETS STANDARDS FOR HOME REMODELERS

This new law broadens and clarifies numerous provisions of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. A company, which provides home improvement services needs to provide consumers with required information. The most stringent requirement is that a written contract is needed for any work that costs more than $1,000. Businesses must provide the customer with a “know your consumer rights brochure” which explains all of the requirements of the law. A company has the right to request consumers to sign and acknowledge they received and understand the contents of that brochure. If the company fails to provide this brochure, it could result in penalties or fines under the act.

HOMEOWNERS BEWARE

Your kitchen needs remodeling. You hire a local contractor to perform all of the work and to purchase new cabinets and fixtures. You are satisfied with the completed work and pay the contractor's bill in full.

Several months later you receive a notice from the fixture supply company. A Mechanic's Lien has been placed on your home because the company was not paid by the contractor for the cost of the fixtures. The company is now trying to collect by making a claim against your property. Can this happen to you? Yes, unless you take the following steps before work begins on your property.

Any worker who provides labor or materials to improve your property can place a claim against the property if he has not been paid for his labor or materials. A Mechanic's Lien is a claim to secure payment for work performed and/or materials furnished in repairing or constructing a building or other structure. The claim attaches to the land and any buildings or improvements that are on the property. At a later date when you attempt to sell your property to move to a new location the Mechanic's Lien will cause problems in passing clear title to your property to the new purchaser and you may have to pay the claim at the real estate closing in order to complete the sale on your home. Furthermore, if a Mechanic's Lien is not rectified while you own the home, it is possible that a Court could order your home sold to satisfy the lien. Once a Mechanic's Lien has been placed on your property, it is imperative that you contact an attorney.

To protect against Mechanic's Liens it is necessary that when you contract for work to be done on your home you advise the contractor that you will require him to provide you with “Final Waivers” before you pay the final bill. A Final Waiver is a signed statement that relinquishes all claims of money for “labor and materials furnished or to be furnished”. It means that neither he nor his suppliers can place a Mechanic's Lien on your home. No homeowner should make a final payment without first receiving Final Waivers in full from the contractor and all subcontractors. Subcontractors include both those that provide labor or services and those that provide materials. Every major construction project requires that this procedure be followed. You, as a homeowner, should be no exception to the rule.

SOCIAL HOSTS NOT LIABLE FOR DRUNKEN GUESTS

Usually, social hosts are not liable for the drunken escapades of their guests under Illinois law. The social host doesn't necessarily know that the intoxicated social guest may be violent when drinking alcohol. The Appellate Court has concluded that drunken and violent guests are not the responsibility of the landowner.