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Ohio's mechanic's lien law does not provide for a statutory lien waiver form, but Ohio courts recognize elective lien waivers under principles of contract law. The waivers identify the claimant, the party responsible for paying, the project, relevant dates, and the amount paid. Sign the completed waiver in front of a notary, then record it in the land records of the county where the project is located.
In general, a lien waiver is used to release an owner's property from a lien claim, either in full or in part, and either conditional, meaning the payment must clear the bank prior to waiving lien rights, or unconditional, meaning that the claimant waives the lien immediately, regardless of whether or not the payment clears the bank.
For instance, if the customer owes $5,000.00 on a construction job and remits a partial payment of $2,500.00, the payor may request a waiver that states he or she has paid that amount and in turn the claimant will give up the right to a lien for $2,500.00 of the total amount. If the check has not yet cleared the bank, use a conditional waiver that is only effective upon actual receipt of payment. If the payment is confirmed, use the unconditional waiver form.
Claimants should exercise extreme caution when using an unconditional waiver. Do not be intimidated by a demand for an unconditional waiver if there is any question about the payment. This is a common trick in the construction industry with devastating consequences, and may lead to forfeiting lien rights without ever being paid. If a claimant waives lien rights too early, the only remedy might be a time-consuming and expensive lawsuit.
Each case is unique, and the lien law is complicated, so contact an attorney familiar with Ohio mechanic's liens with specific questions or for complex situations.
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