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We have been asked to sign a final waiver of lien for a project we were recently told the builder and home owner weren’t happy with. They asked us to work more on it but we told them it would be the same hourly rate. We didn’t quote the job we quoted an hourly rate for the work until it was completed to their satisfaction. They paid our last invoice and signed off on the project 4 months ago.

4 months ago

Can you help us understand?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset

It appears that you performed work on a project, you were paid for the work, and the property owner is requesting a lien waiver from you.

There is nothing really out of the ordinary with this request if you were hired by and paid by the property owner. Once the property owner made payment, they want to be sure their property will not be encumbered by a lien.

In Tennessee, a direct contractor has 1 year from the last furnishing of labor or material to the project in which s/he may file a lien claim, if unpaid. Accordingly, while waivers are generally collected the same time payment is made, the fact that it is being requested 4 months after the end of the project is still reasonable, and the waiver could still be useful.

Delivering a waiver means giving up lien rights to the extent set forth in the waiver document. This should not be an issue to the extent that payment has already been made. Note that Tennessee does not have a required statutory lien waiver form that must be used, so any waiver form can be effective. Because of this, it is important to make sure the waiver being requested or provided doesn’t give up more rights than intended.

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