One of the key protective documents for Owners during the course of construction is the lien waiver. A lien waiver is a signed document from a contractor, subcontractor, materialman, equipment lessor or other party to the construction project stating they have received payment and waive any future lien rights to the owner's property (of the owner). Owners typically expect that the lien waiver is iron-clad once signed by a contractor, and may be surprised to find out that despite a signed lien waiver, the contractor may be able to file and foreclose upon a valid lien against a project. This type of mistake can be costly to a Developer-Owner and can be avoided with the right representation. Our attorneys are experts on the drafting of lien waivers and are intimately familiar with the challenges of enforcing them. We are available to assist you on both a legal and practical level to facilitate the effective management and winding-up of your Project.
Construction lien remedies are cumulative to other remedies under the contract, including the right of a contractor, subcontractor, material man, laborer or design professional to demand arbitration where permitted by the terms of the written agreement. In that connection, New York State Lien Law § 35 is explicit in stating that the filing of a notice of lien shall not be a waiver of any right of arbitration. However, care must be taken in proceedings by the lien claimant to insure that there is no waiver of the arbitration agreement, or of requirements under the Lien Law.
The mechanic's lien is the contractor's most effective weapon in a payment dispute with an owner in connection with the improvement of privately owned real property. We often receive calls from owners claiming that a contractor improperly filed a lien against their property, and seeking a way to immediately discharge the lien. In most cases, there is no low-cost method of quickly discharging a lien.