Wisconsin Lien Waiver Rules
- Rules At A Glance
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No Specific Form
Wisconsin does not require any specific form be used for a lien waiver to be effective.
Notarization Not Required
Wisconsin lien waiver do not need to be notarized, they must only be signed by the claimant.
Can Waive Rights in Contract
Wisconsin law is conflicting with respect to whether lien waivers may be waived in advance by contract. Accordingly, it's best practice to assume that lien rights may be waived in the contract for work.
Can Waive Rights Before Payment
Wisconsin law is conflicting with respect to whether lien waivers may be waived prior to payment, but it seems likely that lien waivers provided after furnishing labor or materials would be upheld.
Lien waivers are exchanged all the time on construction projects in Wisconsin, just like every other state. But, unlike many other states, the law regarding lien waivers in Wisconsin is strictly construed against the potential lien claimant. This means that anybody signing a lien waiver in Wisconsin should be very careful when doing so.
It’s imperative to note that in Wisconsin, unlike pretty much everywhere else, somebody who signs a lien waiver is pretty much stuck with it no matter what. In fact, Wisconsin law specifically says that a lien waiver is effective whether or not the waiving party has been paid, whether the lien waiver was signed prior to or after the material or labor was furnished to the project, or whether the lien waiver was included in or prior to the contract for work. Wow.
And, Wisconsin goes even further and makes sure that any ambiguity in a lien waiver document is “construed against the person signing it.” Double Wow.
It is crucial for parties performing work on a Wisconsin construction project, therefore, to be very, very careful in signing and providing lien waivers – because what it says (or even what it can be construed to say) will be held against you and waive your rights.