Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>The general contractor turned in a lien waiver to the owner stating all the subs had been paid but I wasn’t now the store owner is threatening me if I don’t release my lien, what should I do

The general contractor turned in a lien waiver to the owner stating all the subs had been paid but I wasn’t now the store owner is threatening me if I don’t release my lien, what should I do

AlabamaLien WaiversMechanics LienRight to Lien

I filled a lien for non payment but the GC turned in a waiver to the business owner stating he had paid everyone. I had call the owner and the GC months before filling the lien but didn’t notify them in writing that I hadn’t been paid. I filled my lien before the deadline but the business owner is threatening to sue me if I don’t release the lien

1 reply

Sep 5, 2018
This is a tough situation. When payment is not made and a lien is filed, the communication has likely broken down and is no longer constructive. This can be especially true if the property owner thought that they had already completely paid, and received something saying that no liens could be filed.

Whether or not an Alabama mechanics lien is valid and enforceable depends on several factors.

First, parties other than those who contract directly with the property owner have notice requirements prior to filing a valid lien. There are both "best practice" notices and "required" notices.

It is best practice for parties in Alabama to send a preliminary notice to owner. This entitles the claimant to later file a "full-price" lien (a lien for the total of their labor/material furnished) rather than an unpaid-balance lien (liens are limited to the amount the property owner has not yet paid the GC).

Regardless of whether a notice to owner is or is not delivered, it is required that a lien claimant who is not in direct contract with the owner must deliver a notice of unpaid lien to the property owner prior to filing the mechanics lien itself. This is a strict requirement, and if the notice is not sufficiently provided on time a subsequent lien is invalid, and will be extinguished. This notice cannot merely be a phone call, and must meet certain requirements.

Finally, there is nothing in Alabama statutes that specifically contemplates a party's lien rights being waived by a third party. In fact, under Alabama case law, a waiver or act equivalent to a waiver will only be binding if there is clear intention, whether express or implied, between the parties to waive. If the waiving party is not a party to the supposed waiver (and, indeed, has expressed clear intention to not waive lien rights) it appears that any purported waiver of his/her lien rights would be insufficient.
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