Illinois Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) Overview

It’s easy to file and manage your Illinois bond claims with zlien, the industry’s only all-in-one bond claim and security rights management platform. Get complete control over your bond claim rights on a state, county, or municipal project, by using intelligent technology. To learn more about Illinois’s bond claim laws and requirements, read the frequently asked questions below.

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Illinois

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Illinois

Bond Claim Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Illinois

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Illinois

Bond Claim Deadlines
90 Days

There is no deadline to file Public Notices of Claim. However, the Notice will only be enforceable / effective as to funds that have not yet been paid by the Public Agency to the Prime Contractor. Suit to enforce a public Notice of Claim must be brought within 90 days of its filing.

Illinois

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Illinois

Bond Claim Deadlines
90 Days

There is no deadline to file Public Notices of Claim. However, the Notice will only be enforceable / effective as to funds that have not yet been paid by the Public Agency to the Prime Contractor. Suit to enforce a public Notice of Claim must be brought within 90 days of its filing.

Illinois Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) FAQs

Illinois Bond Claim FAQs

Who Is Protected under Illinois Bond Claim Laws?

In Illinois, there are two types of protection available to parties unpaid on public projects: a bond claim, or a lien on contract funds. For both claims, parties entitled to protection include subcontractors, and suppliers of labor and/or materials to the general contractor or a first tier sub. It is not entirely clear, but more remote parties may be covered as well. When a supplier can be considered a first-tier sub, a supplier to that supplier is likely able to make a bond claim.

When is the Deadline to File a Illinois Bond Claim?

Bond Claim: The bond claim must be received by the contracting public entity within 180 days after the claimant’s last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project, and received by the general contractor within 10 days after the claim was filed with the public entity.

Contract Funds: Notice of a lien on the contract funds must be given prior to payments sufficient to cover the claim are made by the contracting public entity to the general contractor.

Who Should Receive the Illinois Bond Claim?

Bond Claim: In Illinois, a bond claim must be given to the general contractor, as well as to the Clerk or Secretary of the contracting public entity.

Contract Funds: A claim on contract funds must be given to the clerk or secretary of the contracting county, township, school district, city, municipality or municipal corporation, or, if the contract is with the State of Illinois, with the Director (or other party) responsible for letting the contract. The claim must also be given to the general contractor.

When is the Deadline to Initiate Suit, or, How Long is My Illinois Bond Claim Effective?

Bond Claim: In Illinois, suit must be initiated no later than 1 year after the last date of the claimant’s furnishing labor and/or materials to the project. This is a minimum time frame, however. If the language of the bond itself provides for a longer time period in which suit may be initiated, that time period will control.

Contract Funds: Suit must be initiated within 90 days after serving the claim. Within 10 days of filing suit, the claimant must deliver a copy of the complaint to the contracting public entity.

What Must the Illinois Bond Claim Include?

Bond Claim: A bond claim in Illinois must include the following information: 1) the name and address of the claimant including a business address within Illinois (if applicable). If the claimant does not have a business address in the state, the claimant must state their principal place of business, and if the claimant is a partnership, the claim must state the names of the partners. 2) Name of the general contractor; 3) Name of the party to whom the labor and/or material was furnished; 4) Description of the public project sufficient to identify it; 5) Description of the claimant’s contract including the labor and/or material performed and the amount due. This claim must be verified.

Contract Funds: The claim must include the following: 1) Identification of the claimant’s contract; 2) Description of the labor and/or material furnished by the claimant; 3) The total amount due and unpaid. This claim must be sworn.

What Are the Lien Waiver Rules?

Illinois does not have statutory lien waiver forms, and therefore, you can use any lien waiver forms. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers. See this article: Should You Sign That Lien Waiver?.

Illinois state law is unclear or silent about whether contractors and suppliers can waive their lien rights before any work on the project begins. Accordingly, you want to proceed with caution on this subject. You can learn more about such “no lien clauses” at this article: Where Can You Waive Your Lien Rights Before Payment?

Can Suppliers to Suppliers File Bond Claims?

Maybe. Suppliers to suppliers may be able to file a bond claim in Illinois. The law is not clear.

How Must the Illinois Bond Claim Be Sent?

Bond Claim: The bond claim must be “filed” with the public entity – how it is to be given to the public entity for filing is unclear. It may be advisable to send the claim via a method providing verification of receipt. The claim must be served on the general contractor via registered or certified mail return receipt requested, or by personal service.

Contract Funds: The claim must be sent via registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery; or by personal service. The claim is considered served when received or rejected.

Illinois Public Project Preliminary Notice FAQs

Do I Need to Send a Illinois Preliminary Notice?

No. Illinois does not require any preliminary notice to be given to preserve the right to make a bond claim on a public project, nor to make a claim on the contract funds due to the general contractor.

When do I Need to Send a Illinois Preliminary Notice?

N/A

What if I Send the Illinois Preliminary Notice Late?

N/A

How Should the Illinois Preliminary Notice be Sent?

N/A

To Whom Must the Illinois Preliminary Notice be Given?

N/A

Illinois Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) Statutes

When you perform work on a state construction project in Illinois, and are not paid, you can file a “lien” against the project pursuant to Illinois’s Little Miller Act. Since the claim is not against the state or county’s actual property, but instead against a posted bond, the claim is not really called a “lien” but is more frequently referred to as a “bond claim” or “little miller act claim.”

Illinois’s Little Miller Act is found in Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 30, §550/0.01 – 550/3, and is reproduced below.

Illinois Little Miller Act

30 ILCS 550/0.01 Short Title

Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Public Construction Bond Act.

30 ILCS 550/0.01 Short Title

Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Public Construction Bond Act.

30 ILCS 550/1 Bond Required; Emergency Repairs Exception; Provisions Required in Bond

Sec. 1. Except as otherwise provided by this Act, all officials, boards, commissions, or agents of this State, or of any political subdivision thereof, in making contracts for public work of any kind costing over $50,000 to be performed for the State, or of any political subdivision thereof, shall require every contractor for the work to furnish, supply and deliver a bond to the State, or to the political subdivision thereof entering into the contract, as the case may be, with good and sufficient sureties. The surety on the bond shall be a company that is licensed by the Department of Insurance authorizing it to execute surety bonds and the company shall have a financial strength rating of at least A- as rated by A.M. Best Company, Inc., Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s Corporation, or a similar rating agency. The amount of the bond shall be fixed by the officials, boards, commissions, commissioners or agents, and the bond, among other conditions, shall be conditioned for the completion of the contract, for the payment of material used in the work and for all labor performed in the work, whether by subcontractor or otherwise.

If the contract is for emergency repairs as provided in the Illinois Procurement Code, proof of payment for all labor, materials, apparatus, fixtures, and machinery may be furnished in lieu of the bond required by this Section.

Each such bond is deemed to contain the following provisions whether such provisions are inserted in such bond or not:

“The principal and sureties on this bond agree that all the undertakings, covenants, terms, conditions and agreements of the contract or contracts entered into between the principal and the State or any political subdivision thereof will be performed and fulfilled and to pay all persons, firms and corporations having contracts with the principal or with subcontractors, all just claims due them under the provisions of such contracts for labor performed or materials furnished in the performance of the contract on account of which this bond is given, when such claims are not satisfied out of the contract price of the contract on account of which this bond is given, after final settlement between the officer, board, commission or agent of the State or of any political subdivision thereof and the principal has been made.

Each bond securing contracts between the Capital Development Board or any board of a public institution of higher education and a contractor shall contain the following provisions, whether the provisions are inserted in the bond or not:

“Upon the default of the principal with respect to undertakings, covenants, terms, conditions, and agreements, the termination of the contractor’s right to proceed with the work, and written notice of that default and termination by the State or any political subdivision to the surety (“Notice”), the surety shall promptly remedy the default by taking one of the following actions:

(1) The surety shall complete the work pursuant to a written takeover agreement, using a completing contractor jointly selected by the surety and the State or any political subdivision; or

(2) The surety shall pay a sum of money to the obligee, up to the penal sum of the bond, that represents the reasonable cost to complete the work that exceeds the unpaid balance of the contract sum.

The surety shall respond to the Notice within 15 working days of receipt indicating the course of action that it intends to take or advising that it requires more time to investigate the default and select a course of action. If the surety requires more than 15 working days to investigate the default and select a course of action or if the surety elects to complete the work with a completing contractor that is not prepared to commence performance within 15 working days after receipt of Notice, and if the State or any political subdivision determines it is in the best interest of the State to maintain the progress of the work, the State or any political subdivision may continue to work until the completing contractor is prepared to commence performance. Unless otherwise agreed to by the procuring agency, in no case may the surety take longer than 30 working days to advise the State or political subdivision on the course of action it intends to take. The surety shall be liable for reasonable costs incurred by the State or any political subdivision to maintain the progress to the extent the costs exceed the unpaid balance of the contract sum, subject to the penal sum of the bond.”.

The surety bond required by this Section may be acquired from the company, agent or broker of the contractor’s choice. The bond and sureties shall be subject to the right of reasonable approval or disapproval, including suspension, by the State or political subdivision thereof concerned. In the case of State construction contracts, a contractor shall not be required to post a cash bond or letter of credit in addition to or as a substitute for the surety bond required by this Section.

When other than motor fuel tax funds, federal‑aid funds, or other funds received from the State are used, a political subdivision may allow the contractor to provide a non‑diminishing irrevocable bank letter of credit, in lieu of the bond required by this Section, on contracts under $100,000 to comply with the requirements of this Section. Any such bank letter of credit shall contain all provisions required for bonds by this Section.

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30 ILCS 550/1.5 Public Private Agreements

Sec. 1.5. Public private agreements. This Act applies to any public private agreement entered into under the Public Private Agreements for the Illiana Expressway Act or the Public-Private Agreements for the South Suburban Airport Act.

30 ILCS 550/1.7 Public-Private Agreements

Sec. 1.7. Public-private agreements. This Act applies to any public-private agreement entered into under the Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Act.

30 ILCS 550/2 Recovery on Bond or Letter of Credit; Notice of Claim; Limitation

Sec. 2. Every person furnishing material or performing labor, either as an individual or as a sub‑contractor, hereinafter referred to as Claimant, for any contractor, with the State, or a political subdivision thereof where bond or letter of credit shall be executed as provided in this Act, shall have the right to sue on such bond or letter of credit in the name of the State, or the political subdivision thereof entering into such contract, as the case may be, for his use and benefit, and in such suit the plaintiff shall file a copy of such bond or letter of credit, certified by the party or parties in whose charge such bond or letter of credit shall be, which copy shall, unless execution thereof be denied under oath, be prima facie evidence of the execution and delivery of the original; provided, however, that this Act shall not be taken to in any way make the State, or the political subdivision thereof entering into such contract, as the case may be, liable to such sub‑contractor, materialman or laborer to any greater extent than it was liable under the law as it stood before the adoption of this Act.

Provided, however, that any Claimant having a claim for labor, and material furnished to the State shall have no such right of action unless it shall have filed a verified notice of said claim with the officer, board, bureau or department awarding the contract, within 180 days after the date of the last item of work or the furnishing of the last item of materials, and shall have furnished a copy of such verified notice to the contractor within 10 days of the filing of the notice with the agency awarding the contract.

When any Claimant has a claim for labor and material furnished to a political subdivision, the Claimant shall have no right of action unless it shall have filed a verified notice of that claim with he Clerk or Secretary of the political subdivision within 180 days after the date of the last item of work or furnishing of the last item of materials, and shall have filed a copy of that verified notice upon the contractor in a like manner as provided herein within 10 days after the filing of the notice with the Clerk or Secretary.

The Claimant may file said verified notice by using personal service or by depositing the verified notice in the United States Mail, postage prepaid, certified or restricted delivery return receipt requested limited to addressee only.

The claim shall be verified and shall contain (1) the name and address of the claimant; the business address of the Claimant within this State and if the Claimant shall be a foreign corporation having no place of business within the State, the notice shall state the principal place of business of said corporation and in the case of a partnership, the notice shall state the names and residences of each of the partners; (2) the name of the contractor for the government; (3) the name of the person, firm or corporation by whom the Claimant was employed or to whom he or it furnished materials; (4) a brief description of the public improvement; (5) a description of the Claimant’s contract as it pertains to the public improvement, describing the work done by the Claimant and stating the total amount due and unpaid as of the date of verified notice.

No defect in the notice herein provided for shall deprive the Claimant of his right of action under this article unless it shall affirmatively appear that such defect has prejudiced the rights of an interested party asserting the same.

Provided, further, that no action shall be brought later than one year after the date of the furnishing of the last item of work or materials by the Claimant. Such action shall be brought only in the circuit court of this State in the judicial circuit in which the contract is to be performed.

The remedy provided in this Section is in addition to and independent of any other rights and remedies provided at law or in equity. A waiver of rights under the Mechanics Lien Act shall not constitute a waiver of rights under this Section unless specifically stated in the waiver.

30 ILCS 550/3 Builder or Developer Cash Bond or Other Surety

Sec. 3. Builder or developer cash bond or other surety.

(a) A county or municipality may not require a cash bond, irrevocable letter of credit, surety bond, or letter of commitment issued by a bank, savings and loan association, surety, or insurance company from a builder or developer to guarantee completion of a project improvement when the builder or developer has filed with the county or municipal clerk a current, irrevocable letter of credit, surety bond, or letter of commitment issued by a bank, savings and loan association, surety, or insurance company, deemed good and sufficient by the county or municipality accepting such security, in an amount equal to or greater than 110% of the amount of the bid on each project improvement. A builder or developer has the option to utilize a cash bond, irrevocable letter of credit, surety bond, or letter of commitment, issued by a bank, savings and loan association, surety, or insurance company, deemed good and sufficient by the county or municipality, to satisfy any cash bond requirement established by a county or municipality. Except for a municipality or county with a population of 1,000,000 or more, the county or municipality must approve and deem a surety or insurance company good and sufficient for the purposes set forth in this Section if the surety or insurance company is authorized by the Illinois Department of Insurance to sell and issue sureties in the State of Illinois.

(b) If a county or municipality receives a cash bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or surety bond from a builder or developer to guarantee completion of a project improvement, the county or municipality shall (i) register the bond under the address of the project and the construction permit number and (ii) give the builder or developer a receipt for the bond. The county or municipality shall establish and maintain a separate account for all cash bonds received from builders and developers to guarantee completion of a project improvement.

(c) The county or municipality shall refund a cash bond to a builder or developer, or release the irrevocable letter of credit or surety bond, within 60 days after the builder or developer notifies the county or municipality in writing of the completion of the project improvement for which the bond was required. For these purposes, “completion” means that the county or municipality has determined that the project improvement for which the bond was required is complete or a licensed engineer or licensed architect has certified to the builder or developer and the county or municipality that the project improvement has been completed to the applicable codes and ordinances. The county or municipality shall pay interest to the builder or developer, beginning 60 days after the builder or developer notifies the county or municipality in writing of the completion of the project improvement, on any bond not refunded to a builder or developer, at the rate of 1% per month.

(d) A home rule county or municipality may not require or maintain cash bonds, irrevocable letters of credit, surety bonds, or letters of commitment issued by a bank, savings and loan association, surety, or insurance company from builders or developers in a manner inconsistent with this Section. This Section supercedes and controls over other provisions of the Counties Code or Illinois Municipal Code as they apply to and guarantee completion of a project improvement that is required by the county or municipality, regardless of whether the project improvement is a condition of annexation agreements. This Section is a denial and limitation under subsection (i) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution on the concurrent exercise by a home rule county or municipality of powers and functions exercised by the State.