Every state has strict regulations about how a construction lien may be filed (Here’s Washington’s Mechanics Lien Rules). Oftentimes, however, the cancellation of a construction lien (also called a Lien Release) may be more difficult than its filing.

In most states, a “lien release” or “certificate of cancellation” must be filed with the recorder where the lien was filed, and these releases are typically required to identify the property, identify the recording information on the lien (i.e. book #, page #, etc.), and be notarized.

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This requirement to provide the recording information and book number highlights the importance of retaining a copy of the original lien document. Furthermore, in some states, the actual original lien document is required to cancel the inscription (In Georgia, the county recorder requires an original copy of the filed lien to grant a cancellation).

The process in Washington state is rather simple. The “lien release” direction is provided by state, in R.C.W. § 60.04.071:

“Upon payment and acceptance of the amount due to the lien claimant and upon demand of the owner or the person making payment, the lien claimant shall immediately prepare and execute a release of all lien rights for which payment has been made, and deliver the release to the person making payment. In any suit to compel deliverance of the release thereafter in which the court determines the delay was unjustified, the court shall, in addition to ordering the deliverance of the release, award the costs of the action including reasonable attorneys’ fees and any damages.”

The “lien release” document is a simple form that essentially provides three pieces of information:

  • The recorded lien’s identifying information;
  • A statement that the lien is requested to be released; and
  • The statement must be notarized.
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