Does “final payment” mean the same thing as “payment in full”? If soremoved

8 months ago

Does “final payment” mean the same as “payment in full” on a check? If so, how do I go about getting a mechanical lien removed from my property?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
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Generally, yes: A check that reads “final payment” will generally be an indication that no further payment is expected on the project, and thus, that it is paid in full. Note, though, that if a check doesn’t actually represent the full amount of what was owed, but the issuer has written “final payment,” “payment in full,” or something along those lines on the check anyway, that won’t always act as a waiver of future payments. Levelset discusses that here: Are checks with “payment in full” in memo field legally binding? Do they affect mechanics lien rights?

Regarding how to get a mechanics lien removed from a New York property – that can prove challenging, and it will generally either require an owner to convince the claimant to remove their lien (due to some flaw) or legal action. Levelset discusses the uphill battle of New York lien challenges in these articles: (1) Want To Challenge A New York Mechanics Lien? Note These Words of Wisdom; (2) Are New York Mechanics Lien Challenges Impossible?; and (3) Dealing With An Exaggerated New York Lien.

As a bit of a “shortcut”, New York owners are entitled to challenge lien claims via lien law section 59. As explained in this article from Kushnick Pallaci, if a lien claimant fails to properly respond to a demand to show cause on their lien, then the lien may be discharged in as little as 30 days after the demand is sent.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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