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Owner (not our customer) wants to satisfy the lien

New York

hello, we are a material supplier and have a lien filed against a GC. The owner has gotten wind of it and has offered to pay the balance, to remove the lien off of their property. If the owner wanted to pay off the lien, do we have to notify or even get written permission from our customer (the GC) that owes us the money? Our concern is that can envision a situation where the customer may not want us to be paid because there is some issue regarding the goods we sold. If the owner pays us, the owner will probably go after our customer (the GC) for the money. Actually there could be something in the contract between our customer (the GC) and the owner which says that the customer has to pay off the lien and if not the owner can pay and then go after the customer for the money.

3 replies

Aug 9, 2022
It is not uncommon for the general contract to contain a provision allowing the owner to satisfy a lien in the event that the general contractor does not. You are correct, it is exceedingly likely that the owner will seek to back charge, credit, etc. the general contractor. As far as your exposure is concerned, generally speaking of course, even if the lien is satisfied the general contractor can still go after you for breach of contract, willful exaggeration, etc. Of course, the above is all generally speaking, every case is different, if you need a construction lawyer please advise.
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Aug 10, 2022
You need to look at the contract but your concern should be getting paid. Collecting your money and releasing the lien seems the right business decision but review your contract.
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Aug 10, 2022

As the previous answers accurately explain, it depends on what the contract says! That being said, as a material supplier, your primary concern may be to get paid, but it also may be to take into consideration the status of the GC, who is your customer. You don't necessarily want to do something to burn that bridge, unless all efforts are exhausted. This could be a situation where a meeting/call/conference can get somewhere.

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