ContractsCounsel Logo

Jump to Section

What is a Lien Waiver?

A lien waiver is a written agreement that, when signed, indicates that the counterparty will give up rights to file a lien against a payer. In other words, when a lien waiver is signed, the signer agrees that all dues have been paid and that they have no right to seize property or goods.

Purpose of a Lien Waiver

Lien waivers exist to protect all parties involved in a business transaction . Typically, lien waivers are requested at the time of payment. The paying party may require a lien waiver to be signed before they will release their payment. In exchange for signing the lien waiver, the party providing services is promised payment.

Lien waivers also help make sure projects go as smoothly as possible. The construction industry is one of the most common entities that use lien waivers. Construction projects typically consist of multiple milestones before a job is completed.

Project managers must ensure that no liens on property or goods are placed throughout the project to keep the job running smoothly. Lien waivers do two things in these scenarios:

  • Serves as a receipt of payment
  • Ensures no liens are placed mid-project

Lien waivers are always a good idea to create and sign for any construction project along with a construction contract . They add an extra layer of protection for claimants, but they can also compel clients to pay quickly since the avoidance of a lien depends on no missed payment or returned checks for the duration of the agreement.

Since lien waivers add an extra layer of protection for the paying party, in many cases, these waivers usher payment along more quickly. This is because project managers may need to go through a shorter approval process when a lien waiver is present.

Lien waivers cannot be signed until the first day of the job has been completed successfully.

Check out this article to learn more about the purpose of a lien waiver.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Pura R.

55 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Darryl S.

44 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Ryenne S.

628 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Steven S.

15 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Types of Lien Waivers

There are four different types of lien waivers. Each of these is slightly different in its approach, but the end goal is the same for all: to get rid of liens on a project.

Conditional Lien Waiver on Progress Payment

A conditional waiver on progress payment is a lien waiver that indicates that if payments are up to date, the right to place a lien is waived. This waiver becomes void in the event of a returned check or stopped payment

This type of waiver is generally most beneficial to the claimant.

Unconditional Lien Waiver on Progress Payment

An unconditional lien waiver on progress payment releases a claimant’s right to place a lien on goods or property as of a pre-determined date. This waiver becomes invalid if a check is returned or a stopped payment takes place.

Conditional Lien Waiver on Final Payment

A conditional lien waiver on final payment indicates that a claimant waives all rights to place a lien if all payments have been received as requested and no stopped payments or returned checks have been involved.

This is the safest type of lien waiver for owners.

Unconditional Lien Waiver on Final Payment

An unconditional lien waiver on final payment indicates that a claimant relinquishes all rights to file a lien once payments have been made in full. Claimants should only issue these types of waivers when the job has been completed in full, and payment has been received and is fully cleared.

Owners should request an unconditional lien waiver on final payment when the work they contracted the claimant for is complete, and the final payment has been made.

Here is an article where you can learn more about the four types of lien waivers.

ContractsCounsel Lien Waiver Image

Image via Pexels by Rodolfo

Lien Waiver vs. Release of Lien

Even though a lien waiver and a release of lien may sound similar, they couldn’t be more different.

Key Differences Between a Lien Waiver and Release of Lien

One of the main differences between a lien waiver and a release of lien involves when they are signed.

Lien waivers are useful for protecting owners and claimants from having an active lien. They are signed with the sole purpose of recording that no liens will be filed if certain conditions are met; most of the time, that means that payments must be made either on time or in full.

On the other hand, a release of lien is only necessary if a lien on goods or property has already been placed. In simple terms, instead of preventing a lien from occurring, a release of lien removes a lien once conditions are met.

Another major difference between a lien waiver and a release of lien lies in what they do for the claimant.

When a lien release is signed, claimants relinquish their right to place a lien on property or goods. However, when a release of lien is signed, the claimant agrees to remove the placed lien in exchange for certain conditions, usually money.

When it comes to legality, lien releases are taken much more seriously by the government. This is evident because many states have strict requirements that require lien release paperwork to be filed when a lien is lifted. However, no states have any strict requirements when it comes to filing a lien waiver.

Key Similarities Between a Lien Waiver and a Release of Lien

Even though lien waivers and lien releases have their differences, they are alike in some ways, as well. For one, they are both designed to take on some form of lien control. They are also mutually beneficial for both claimants and owners.

For example, the purpose of each document is to effectively get rid of a lien. They also both exist to foster a positive relationship between owners and claimants.

Another notable similarity is that neither document can be sent until after the project has begun. That’s right – if the job hasn’t started, this documentation cannot be signed off on yet.

Depending on the state you live in, failing to file a lien release or lien waiver can get you into some serious legal trouble. Neglecting to file one of these documents is grounds for hefty fees, fines, and penalties.

Learn more about the similarities and differences of lien waivers and lien releases by checking out this article .

How Do I get a Lien Waiver?

The easiest way to get a lien waiver is to connect with a lawyer in your area specializing in liens and lien waivers. Since the phrasing and paperwork can get a bit confusing, it’s always a good idea to have a professional in your corner.

If you’d rather get connected with qualified lawyers online without leaving your bed, consider posting a project on ContractsCounsel. Our online database of highly qualified lawyers includes many specialty lawyers who can help you through to process of getting a lien waiver.

Don't wait if you need to get in touch with a lawyer to help you with this type of waiver! There’s no better time than the present to get the ball rolling in your direction.


ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lien Waiver Lawyers

AJ M. on ContractsCounsel
View AJ
5.0 (3)
Member Since:
May 8, 2023

AJ M.

Managing Partner
Free Consultation
Atlanta, Georgia
27 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA
U. Southern California

⛵AJ has practiced in entertainment, technology, intellectual property, data privacy and protection, a broad array of domestic and international transactions, finance, and as outside General Counsel for startup and growth companies.

Michael C. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
5.0 (16)
Member Since:
May 12, 2023

Michael C.

Attorney and Business Consultant
Free Consultation
St. Paul, MN
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MN
Brigham Young University

I offer top-tier legal expertise in startups, corporate governance, and general legal research. As a professor and published author of research articles and conference presentations, I have established myself as a legal expert, writer, and scholar. My strong research skills and innovative thinking make me a highly capable business consultant, legal adviser, and copywriter. Currently a member of the Minnesota bar. Recent freelance projects include business plans, contract drafting, legal advisory memoranda, due diligence, pre-trial motion practice, and discovery review.

Marshal H. on ContractsCounsel
View Marshal
Member Since:
May 2, 2023

Marshal H.

Attorney & Founder
Free Consultation
Houston, Texas
7 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of California, Berkeley

Sorry to toot my own horn, but I'm not your average lawyer. I graduated in the TOP 1% of my class from one of the nation's top law schools (Berkeley Law). I received eight awards for the HIGHEST GRADE in individual courses, including Constitutional Law, Advanced Legal Research, and Advanced Legal Writing. I worked for three years at a top-flight litigation boutique, where my clients included billion-dollar, household-name companies. I started my own law firm two years ago. Why? Because I wanted to help REAL PEOPLE, not just big companies. I win big cases on behalf of people who were done wrong by businesses, employers, and others. I am more than qualified to advise on any dispute, and am particularly experienced in matters related to digital commerce and consumer protection. Let's go get justice, together.

Tyler P. on ContractsCounsel
View Tyler
Member Since:
May 3, 2023

Tyler P.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Los Angeles, California
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Northwestern California University School of Law

I am an experienced business coordinator with years of experience operating within an international setting where I discovered my passion for contracts and helping people. I became an attorney later in life to further and enhance these passions and to be able to help those in similar positions as I was find the legal help they need, and work with clients on a rate that is a fraction of the cost of going to a larger firm.

N'kia N. on ContractsCounsel
View N'kia
Member Since:
May 9, 2023

N'kia N.

Founding Partner
Free Consultation
North Carolina
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC
NCCU School of Law

I am a business law attorney with substantial experience with contracts and contract disputes. I support both "professional" services provider (such as consultants and advisors) and "creative" services providers (such as creators and ghostwriters). Future-proof your business with contracts that are customized to your unique goals. My special interests include services agreements, employment agreements, severance agreements, independent contractor agreements, termination agreements, restrictive covenants (such as confidentiality agreements/non-disclosure agreements, non-competition agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-disparagement agreements), alternative resolution agreements, and settlement agreements. *** Any reference to a "FREE consultation" is for a "Discovery Call" (legal information or information about my services). For legal advice, please schedule a "Strategy Call." [All calls are by appointment.] [I am not currently accepting new clients for disputes related to construction contracts or defects, real estate transactions, commercial or residential leases, or employment.] Address is for mail only.

Venus C. on ContractsCounsel
View Venus
Member Since:
May 9, 2023

Venus C.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
West Palm Beach, Florida
20 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude

Venus Caruso is a Florida-based attorney who has been helping companies and individuals with their contract needs for over 19 years. She leverages her 10 years spent as a complex commercial litigator and 7 years spent as in-house legal counsel to help clients with their contract needs, whether it’s preparing a contract or providing feedback and redlining. Some types of contracts that Venus can help you with include NDAs, digital agency agreements, marketing agreements, employment agreements, Florida LLC operating agreements, software development agreements, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, non-circumvention agreements, sales rep agreements, software agreements, SaaS agreements, contract amendments, and termination of contract agreements.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Business lawyers by top cities
See All Business Lawyers
Lien Waiver lawyers by city
See All Lien Waiver Lawyers

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city