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What best suites my situation, Conditional Waiver & Release on Final Payment or Unconditional? *(I'm the Home Owner)*

New JerseyLien Waivers

I hired a contractor to do work in my house. I paid him 50% and he didn't complete 50% of the work. He doesn't answer calls anymore and continues to give excuses why he can't come and is down-the-roading the project. He's way outside of the terms of our contract. I don't want him to turn around and say that I don't want to pay the balance and then he puts a lien on my property. So i want to protect myself against him placing a lien on my property for the remaining balance. Do I file a Conditional or Unconditional Waiver & Release on Final Payment?

1 reply

Feb 17, 2021
The lien waiver is not something you would file. Instead, it is something that your contractor would sign as may be required in a contract. If you can show that you have overpaid the contractor, then the contractor has no lien rights. The contractor could attempt to start the residential lien process, and you would have to defend against that, but if you have the backup documents to show that he failed to complete 50% of the work, you should be able to successfully defend against a lien claim. The contractor can only file a lien for the value of work performed but not paid. He could not file a lien for the balance of the contract if it has not been performed. You may need to send a letter demanding a return of your payments and notifying the contractor formally of the problems, and that you may have to sue if the money is not returned. You have many options as to how to deal with this, and you may be entitled to significant damages under the NJ Consumer Fraud Act. I would be happy to discuss further and learn more about the specifics of your situation.

Matthew Lakind, Esq.

Tesser & Cohen

946 Main St.

Hackensack, NJ 07601

Ph: 201-343-1100

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