Contractor asking sub to sign unconditional lien before partial payment is that legal

2 weeks ago

I am a subcontractor and having trouble receiving payment from contractor he won’t release payment unless i sign a unconditional lien and he only wants to pay half of what he owes until he inspects work but send pics already of work completion we live in Texas is that legal?

Additional info about this contractor
Project Role: Subcontractor
Project Type: Commercial
Owner The Storrs Law Firm
16 reviews

Generally, the law prohibits requiring you to sign an unconditional waiver if you haven’t been paid the consideration shown in the waiver. You should ask the GC to use a conditional waiver form. Also, it is problematical to release a lien for partial payment, since you are being asked to waive your rights through a particular date. If the GC won’t use a conditional waiver form, you should consult an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

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Attorney The Cromeens Law Firm


Great question. Do not sign an unconditional lien waiver until after you have received payment. You can sign a conditional lien waiver for the 50% the contractor is going to pay, or sign the unconditional lien waiver for whatever amount you receive after the payment clears. You would only be releasing your right to lien for the 50% you have paid. However, the contractor cannot withhold payment until you sign the unconditional waiver or any amount. This could result in you never receiving payment if you sign the unconditional waiver first. You should still preserve your lien rights and file your lien while working out either payment or a settlement. Upon full payment of the lien, the law requires you to release your lien within 10 days so the contractor will ultimately get the release he desires.


Kelly Stamy
Associate Attorney

Tel: (713) 715-7334

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