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can i return a check from signing a lien waiver if the check has not been cashed

GeorgiaLien Waivers

work was done but they are not paying the full amount but on the lien waiver it says paid in full.

1 reply

Jun 24, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you haven't been paid, and it's good instinct to be hesitant to cash a partial check. Cashing a check that doesn't actually represent everything that's owed can create issues with recovering payment later on.

If a lien waiver is signed but the check issued is not for the full amount of what's owed, it's probably a good idea to reach out to the customer to clear things up. Potentially, returning the check in exchange for a check for the proper amount can be an easy fix. Hopefully, the issue is just a mere misunderstanding and a new check can be cut for the proper amount. If there is, in fact, a dispute over what should be paid - further action may be required, and cashing a check that only represents partial payment could be problematic.

Keep in mind that, if necessary, payment claims could be made even when a Georgia lien waiver has been given. So, if a full blown payment dispute is afoot, submitting a lien waiver won't necessarily be a death sentence to payment claims. As Levelset has written here, Georgia lien waivers are unique - even if a lien waiver is issued for the full amount, a lien claimant can proceed with a lien claim or filing an Affidavit of Nonpayment if their customer refuses to make payment. But, this must be done within 60 days of issuing the waiver. Otherwise, the lien waiver will take full force and effect.

Of course, before proceeding with a payment claim, talking out the issue is a smart first step. And, even if there is a real issue, escalating the matter with a Notice of Intent to Lien can help explain to all parties that there's a serious payment problem at hand, and if that problem isn't resolved, a lien may become necessary. If things like talking it out and sending a warning don't do the trick, proceeding with more official action (like a Georgia mechanics lien claim) might become necessary.

For more on Georgia lien waivers, this is a great resource: Georgia Lien Waivers Overview.
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