Should I Have a Contractor Sign a Lien Release or Waiver in Idaho?
Almost all states disallow a provision in one’s contract that waives the right to record a mechanic’s lien in the future. However, the Idaho mechanic’s lien laws have no such rule. Technically, one could include a valid waiver in a construction contract as long as it is in the form of clear and unambiguous language. Most lien waivers in popular circulation have language to the effect that the waiver is effective only upon receipt of the actual payment.
Although the terms lien waiver and lien release seem to be interchangeable, a release demonstrates completion and payment, so as to prove any claim has been satisfied, while a waiver demonstrates a relinquishment of a known right. Waivers are typically obtained prior to commencement of any work, whereas releases are subsequently obtained. Waivers of lien must be in writing, give a sufficient description of the real estate, and be signed by the one with authority to file or claim a lien. No payment needs to be made in advance if the subcontractor agrees to release the land from the lien and rely only on the credit of the owner or general contractor for payment of the debt.
A lien waiver is not a general release of claims; it only waives lien rights. A person signing a lien waiver may still have a claim (or multiple claims) against the person with whom it contracted. Therefore, owners may want their contractor to execute a waiver and release of all claims through the date of each pay application in addition to executing a lien waiver.
The contractor is giving up the right to later file a lien only for the amount of the payment. The lien waiver will not necessarily prevent claims for contested change orders, retention, or breach of contract damages (for example — delay damages, impeded productivity, and other consequential damages).
-Interim Lien Waiver. This is used for progress draws or a partial payment. It waives lien rights through a certain date (and not future unpaid bills) and only to the extent of the payment. Many general contractors and owners require these forms to be signed by the person receiving payment before a check is issued.
-An Unconditional Lien Waiver is used after final payment and means just that: fully and finally releases all future lien rights with no later recourse to file a mechanic's lien. It should be signed only if you are assured you have been paid and are satisfied with the amount received.
-A conditional lien waiver is one that you use when submitting a progress invoice on a project, whether it's the first progress payment or the last. It is conditioned upon receipt of payment, and therefore will typically use the words "upon receipt". An unconditional lien waiver is used when payment has been received and cleared the account. Such a lien waiver will typically state that payment has been received.
When a lien waiver takes effect, the right to file a mechanic lien is given up. However, the lien waiver doesn't prevent a contractor from other remedies, such as a claim for breach of contract, etc.