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Unconditional lien release

OregonLien Releases

Hi, I have a roofing contractor installing a new roof on a property in Oregon. If I pay him 100% and he gives me a unconditional waiver/lien release upon receipt/deposit of my check, am I covered if he doesn’t pay his roofing material supplier? I have concerns about this and was requesting a joint check with the roof material supplier as a guarantee I won’t have my property liened. Thanks for your help. Karen Magranet

1 reply

Oct 8, 2019
Obtaining a final unconditional lien waiver is a great way to ensure that the party submitting the waiver won't be able to file a mechanics lien. However, it won't block that party's supplier from filing a mechanics lien claim if that supplier isn't paid for the materials they provide to the project. For a little more background on what to expect from lien waivers, as a property owner: The Property Owner’s Guide to Lien Waivers. As you mentioned above, one way to ensure that payments are properly used might be to utilize joint checks. Though, unless a contractor is willing to use joint checks on the fly, that might not be an option unless joint checks were specifically allowed in the contract. Another option that might be helpful is to ask a contractor for a sworn statement, providing a list of all subs and suppliers and stating that they've all been paid in full. If the contractor were unwilling to provide that, that might be a sign that there's trouble on the horizon. And if it were provided, that'd likely be helpful to have in hand in the event a mechanics lien or other payment dispute came into play. Also, reaching out to the supplier to ensure that payment has been made may be an option, too, if the supplier is known. Finally, note that under section 87.070 of Oregon's mechanics lien statute, a contractor will be responsible for defending the property owner against mechanics liens filed by the contractor's subs and suppliers, and may also be responsible for paying out any award owed to such a lien claimant. So, reminding a contractor of this obligation can help make sure they've done everything by the book. And, this safety net should provide some consolation to a property owner wary of mechanics liens.
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