partial payment

AlabamaLien ReleasesLien Waivers

I have received a partial payment for the past due amount. I have a lein on the property. Should I accept partial payment and continue to try to collect on the remaining balance? My fear is that if I accept this partial payment I will not be able to collect the final balance.

1 reply

Feb 17, 2020
It's extremely common for an owner or contractor to offer partial payment after a lien has been filed. And, accepting some amount of payment shouldn't cause a claimant issues, in and of itself.

What should a mechanics lien claimant do if partial payment is offered?

Accepting partial payment should be a huge issue, by itself. However, it's important to keep an eye out for potential landmines. For one, accepting a check that states it's for "final payment" when the check is actually only partial payment could affect the ability to recover. Further, if a lien waiver will be given in exchange for partial payment, it's important to keep an eye on the lien waiver form and the language of the waiver. It's possible that the waiver could be waiving rights in addition to the payment rights the claimant intends to waive. Further, it's possible that an owner or contractor might demand a partial release of lien in exchange for the partial payment. But, as discussed in the following article, that too can be risky: I Received Partial Payment — What Should I Do With My Mechanics Lien? If a partial lien release must be filed, it's crucial to make sure the language on that waiver doesn't waive more rights than intended. Ultimately, though, it's up to the claimant to determine what's the right call in their particular situation. Sometimes, it might make more sense to stand pat and wait for full payment. Other times, working with a customer or owner and showing good faith by providing partial waivers might be a good idea. For help making that decision, it might be useful to consult a local Alabama construction attorney for input.
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