Louisiana Lien Waiver Rules
- Rules At A Glance
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No Specific Form
Louisiana does not provide or require statutory forms for lien waivers to be effective. Any form may be used.
Notarization Not Required
Louisiana lien waivers do not require notarization to be effective.
Cannot Waive Rights in Contract
Louisiana has no specific statutory provision that disallows a lien waiver in a contract, or otherwise prior to work. However, court decisions have required an “existing right, a knowledge of its existence and an actual intention to relinquish it.” Since there is no actual right to file a lien until work is performed, no waiver is acceptable until that time.
Can Waive Rights Before Payment
In Louisiana, once a claimant has the right to file a lien, the claimant is able to waive that right. This means that waivers post-work, but pre-payment are acceptable.
Lien waivers act as a receipt for payment. They are exchanged by parties at the time of payment on a construction project. It’s common for subs and suppliers to include a lien waiver with their pay applications or invoices to streamline the process. When a lien waiver is executed, the party is giving up (i.e. waiving) their lien rights in the amount listed on the waiver.
Louisiana lien waivers are mostly unregulated under the Louisiana mechanics lien laws, at least in terms of the form or specific language necessary to make the waiver effective. Louisiana does not provide lien waiver form templates in its statutes, and doesn’t really provide much guidance on how a lien waiver should be drafted. Participants on Louisiana construction projects, therefore, have the freedom to choose the exact format and language of lien waivers. Given this amount of freedom allowed, contractors should read the language carefully to ensure they aren’t waiving more than just lien rights. However, there are rules related to when a lien waiver can be given and be effective.
There are limitations related to when lien waivers can be requested and provided, however. No specific statutory provision disallows advance lien waivers in Louisiana, but a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals case, applying Louisiana law, restricted such waivers. By requiring an “existing right, a knowledge of its existence and an actual intention to relinquish it,” the court determined that there is no actual right to file a lien at the time a construction contract is signed and that there could be no waiver until the actual right exists. The court also determined that the failure to pay is a breach of contract, and, since the breach allowed the dissolution of the contract, it would have negated the lien waiver contained within.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the discussion: Since this was not a Louisiana state court making the determination there is the possibility that a state court could go in another direction; and, the language of the court left open the possibility of cases in which an advance lien waiver may be enforceable.
The information on this page provides resources, forms, and frequently asked questions about Louisiana Lien Waivers to help your construction company get it done correctly.