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Does Missouri only have 1 statutory waiver form?

2 years ago

Missouri is one of the only states has statutorily required waiver forms. It appears the only form that is determined by state statute is the Unconditional Final waiver. Is this true, and if so, what kind of form should Missouri contractors use for Unconditional Partial or Conditional Partial/Final Waivers?

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.
Chief Legal Officer Levelset
52 reviews

Missouri specifically contemplates all types of of waivers (both partial and final and conditional and unconditional) by statute. See, “Any claimant may waive its right to assert a mechanic’s lien . . . by executing a partial or full waiver of mechanic’s lien rights, whether conditioned upon receipt of payment or unconditional . . .”

However, most of those lien waiver types, although contemplated, are not set out by Missouri statute. However, the only specific statutory requirement for form is that: “An unconditional, final mechanic’s lien waiver shall only be valid if it is on a form that is substantially” as set forth by statute.

Accordingly, lien waivers in Missouri can generally be in whatever form desired unless the project is residential and the waiver is a final unconditional waiver. If that waiver is used, the full final unconditional waiver is effective even if less than full payment was received.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
139 reviews

That’s a good question. As mentioned above, Missouri is home to only one statutorily required waiver form – an Unconditional Final Lien Waiver For Residential Property. The form of that waiver is dictated by § 429.016(27) of Missouri’s lien statute.

For all other lien waivers, including unconditional final lien waivers for non-residential property, Missouri does not dictate a specific form. In that case, as is the case in most states, contractors are free to use the forms of their choice.

Determining which form to use will ultimately depend on the goals of the individual requesting waivers, so there’s no one answer to what a contractor should use. But the waiver utilized should be appropriate for the situation. Further, utilizing a waiver that is fair and uses clear, plain language should always be a priority. California’s lien waivers go a long way in both of these arenas.

For one, California’s statutorily required lien waivers provide a waiver for four different situations: a partial conditional waiver, a partial unconditional waiver, a final conditional waiver, and a final unconditional waiver. Having specific waiver forms for when the project is still underway vs. when the project is finished adds a lot of flexibility, and being able to utilize different forms for when payment has been made or has yet to be made is helpful, too. No matter the payment situation, one of those waiver types will typically apply.

Thus, adjusting the waiver forms that California utilizes to remove mentions to California and California law and to replace them with “Missouri” and/or citations to Missouri law can provide a contractor with multiple strong waiver forms. Of course, this is just one option, and as mentioned above, a contractor is largely free to handle waiver language as they see fit when a final unconditional lien waiver for residential property is not in play.

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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