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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Do I have to respond to someone 's lawyer I have a mechanics lien with his client. They want me to sign and release the lien before payment. They want it notarized. I don't like these conditions and won't be signingit. I want to know if I can just ignore this letter and what are the repercussions.

Do I have to respond to someone 's lawyer I have a mechanics lien with his client. They want me to sign and release the lien before payment. They want it notarized. I don't like these conditions and won't be signingit. I want to know if I can just ignore this letter and what are the repercussions.

CaliforniaLien Releases

I have a mechanics lien on a homeowner who refused to pay me. He got a lawyer to write a letter enclosing the full amount with a check, but want me to sign a conditional waiver releasing the lien bfore the funds are released.

1 reply

Aug 7, 2018
First, I'm glad you're on the verge of getting paid! Mechanics liens really do seem to get the job done when payment disputes are at hand. Orchestrating the timing of payment and a release of lien can be tricky business, and it's natural for a claimant to be wary of releasing their lien before payment is made. However, it's likely important to stay in communication with a party who is attempting to exchange that payment for a release - the entire point of a mechanics lien filing is to receive payment that is owed. So, when a party seems willing to come to the table, nurturing those settlement talks is a good idea. You'd mentioned that they wanted a conditional waiver in exchange for payment - does that refer to California's statutory conditional waiver and release form? If so, signing such a form might not carry all that much risk. First, the statutory forms for conditional waivers are only effective once payment has been made - if the claimant does not receive payment, then no rights are waived. Second, releasing a filed mechanics lien will typically require a more formal, recorded lien release/satisfaction. The statutory forms are geared more toward the waiver and release of lien rights prior to a mechanics lien filing. Meanwhile, a cancellation or satisfaction of lien filing (made by a claimant) is more common to signal that a filed lien should be released. Thus, if a statutory conditional waiver and release is being sought out: (1) that such a form would not be effective unless payment is actually received, and (2) that such a form might not be effective to release a filed lien - and a claimant would likely need to file a satisfaction of lien with the county in order to show that the lien was satisfied on record. If the "conditional release" is not referring to the statutory waiver and release form, then signing such a release could be a little riskier - but ultimately it's up to a claimant to decide what to do to secure payment. Rather than ignore an attempt to resolve a lien filing, if a claimant is not amenable to the terms proposed by the paying party, it might be more effective to discuss the release with them and come to a more agreeable solution. Of course, that decision is up to each individual claimant - and each situation is different and carries different considerations.
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