The question of when notarizing construction documents is required depends on what type of document and which state the project is located. There aren’t many states that require lien waivers to be notarized, and Arizona is not one of them.
Arizona lien waiver requirements
Arizona highly regulates mechanics liens. In fact, Arizona is one of just 12 states that provide statutory lien waiver forms. The reason for standardizing lien waivers is to level the playing field when it comes to exchanging lien rights for payment. Some states take this a step further. There are 3 states in particular that require lien waivers to be notarized; Mississippi, Arizona, and Texas.
Is notarization required on Arizona lien waivers?
The answer is no. There is no requirement for Arizona lien waivers to be notarized. The AZ Rev. Stat. §33-1008(D) states that the “waiver and release given by a claimant is unenforceable unless it follows substantially the following forms.”
The following sections, §§33-1008(1)-(4) continue by providing all of the pertinent language that should be included on every lien waiver. At no point do these sections expressly state that notarization is required. Neither do any of the statutorily provided forms include a notary block.
Can notarizing an Arizona lien waiver invalidate it?
As mentioned above, the Arizona statute states that waivers must be in substantially the same form in order to be valid. Substantially usually means to some significant extent. Unfortunately, there is no bright-line rule as to what constitutes a significant deviation.
But is it worth the risk for the “benefit” of notarizing the lien waiver? Anytime contractors are working on a project in one of the 12 states that require statutory forms; the best practice is to keep the forms as-is. Thus, any additions or modifications Arizona lien waivers, such as notarization, is rarely a good idea.
For a deep dive on Arizona lien waivers:
Notarizing construction documents
There are many in the construction industry that are under the impression that notarizing every construction document is best practice. They are not entirely wrong, a notary stamp is a great way to verify that the person who signed is actually who they claim to be and that they understand what they’re signing.
Any document can be notarized, even lien waivers. There are some benefits to notarizing lien waivers, but doing so in one of the “regulated lien waiver states” is a risky proposition.
The Arizona statutory forms were created to even the balance of power in the construction payment process. They are designed to be beneficial to all parties involved, and any alterations run the risk of invalidating the waiver and further delaying payment. Notarizing Arizona lien waivers is an unwarranted risk. Not to mention an expensive and time-consuming step. Best practice? Leave the forms as-is.