Whenever payments are exchanged on a construction project, there’s a good chance that a lien waiver will be involved.
Owners and General Contractors need them to ward off the possibility of paying twice for the same work. Subs and suppliers must often sign a lien waiver in order to receive payment – but there’s a natural hesitation here. After all, once lien rights are waived, they are waived for good.
With all these competing interests, it’s important to get lien waivers right. With that in mind, let’s take a look at New York’s Unconditional Lien Waiver for a Progress Payment (sometimes called a “partial” payment).
Guide To New York’s Unconditional Lien Waiver — Progress Payment
Hold up! This is the perfect moment to ask an extremely important question: Is this the right waiver for your situation?
This waiver waives the right to progress payment, and it waives that right unconditionally. If this is the final payment on a project, a final waiver might be more appropriate. If payment is to be exchanged for this waiver, a conditional waiver might be a safer route. But if you already have a progress payment is in hand, this very well could be the document for you!
Download a Free Template of this Waiver Form
Download a free template of this form (an editable .pdf) that you can fill out yourself.
Keep in mind: There are 4 different lien waiver forms that may be used in New York State, depending on the situation. For help with the four different types of lien waivers, you should download this guide:
Here’s How to Fill Out the Unconditional Lien Waiver Form for a Progress Payment
> Notice. This notice is voluntary, but it’s a great way to get everyone on the same page. It clearly sets out the purpose of the document and sets expectations for everyone who encounters it.
> Name of Claimant. Who will be waiving their lien rights when this waiver is submitted? This still applies even where no claim has been made. Think of it as “Name of (Potential) Claimant.”
> Name of Customer. Who did the above Claimant provide their work to?
> Job Location. Where was this project located? Mechanics liens often call for a legal description, but that’s not really required for a lien waiver. But including information that is as accurate and specific as possible should always be a priority.
> Owner. Who owns that property you just described above? This part can get confusing, and finding an owner isn’t always easy. Some of the more common details that complicate “ownership” are actually attached to our New York lien waivers – give that a read!
> Through Date. This part is incredibly important! The Claimant signing this waiver will waive claims for all work completed on or before the date entered into this field. Considering this waiver is unconditional, double and triple check this portion.
> $. Alright, make sure to get this part right too! This is the amount being waived. Some exceptions are created in the next section, but this blank should represent the amount of the progress payment received in exchange for this waiver.
> Exceptions. I might sound like a broken record, but this part is also very, very important. In this section, enter any amounts that should not be included in the waiver. Maybe it’s retention or maybe it’s pending change orders. Since this waiver is unconditional, the stakes are raised – double check this section!
> Claimant’s Signature. It’s time for the Claimant to sign!
> Claimant’s Title. What is the title of the person signing this waiver on behalf of the Claimant?
> Date of Signature. Check the calendar! Or your watch, if you’re fancy…
REMEMBER — There are four different types of lien waiver forms, and the CONDITIONAL waivers are the safest to use. Be extremely careful when using an unconditional lien waiver (such as the one described here in this article), as you may unintentionally give up your right to get paid before you actually get the cash in hand.