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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Mechanic's Lien Rights - We worked as a sub-contractor under a General Contractor on a project, and the General Contractor had us sign a unconditional waiver and release on final payment form even though we have not been paid anything on the entire project yet. I have the document we signed, does that waive our rights to file a mechanics lien. I have an email stating that from the GC, and we wrote on the unconditional waiver that they owe us the total dollar amount.

Mechanic's Lien Rights - We worked as a sub-contractor under a General Contractor on a project, and the General Contractor had us sign a unconditional waiver and release on final payment form even though we have not been paid anything on the entire project yet. I have the document we signed, does that waive our rights to file a mechanics lien. I have an email stating that from the GC, and we wrote on the unconditional waiver that they owe us the total dollar amount.

TexasLien WaiversRight to Lien

We worked as a sub-contractor under a General Contractor on a project, and the General Contractor had us sign a unconditional waiver and release on final payment form even though we have not been paid anything on the entire project yet. I have the document we signed, does that waive our rights to file a mechanics lien. I have an email stating that from the GC, and we wrote on the unconditional waiver that they owe us the total dollar amount. Mechanics Lien Rights?

1 reply

Apr 23, 2019
I'm sorry that you've been having trouble collecting payment - no one should have to fight and scratch just to be paid what they've earned. First, it's worth noting that submitting any unconditional lien waiver before receiving payment is rarely a good idea - especially a final waiver. Texas provides conditional lien waivers that will waive lien rights upon receipt of payment - and when a conditional lien waiver is used, that waiver won't take effect until payment is in hand. Regarding Texas unconditional lien waivers - while an unconditional lien waiver may be binding, it appears it's not quite cut and dry under the Texas Property Code. Rather, the Texas Property Code prohibits requiring unconditional lien waivers unless payment has been made under § 53.283, and under § 53.281(a), if a waiver or release of lien is requested and submitted in a way that's out of line with the Texas lien waiver requirements, the waiver is considered unenforceable. At the same time, there may be an argument that, as long as an unconditional waiver was in the form required by statute, it will be effective to waive lien rights - though, based on the sections of the Texas Property Code referred to above, it might be hard to argue lien rights should still be waived when a claimant was required to provide a waiver in a manner that goes against Texas statute. So, ultimately, whether or not lien rights exist in a situation where lien rights were prematurely, and arguably improperly, waived would be up to a court, if things came down to that. For claimants wary of filing a lien when their ability to lien is up in the air - it's important to remember that there's a difference between an honest mistake and a fraudulent lien, and that most mechanics lien claimants are able to release their lien claim if they run into trouble without further issue. If you have other questions about Texas lien waivers, these resources should be valuable: (1) Texas Lien Waiver Overview and FAQs; and (2) Texas Mechanics Lien Overview.
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