Have you ever thought about waiving your right to file a lien on a project? Have you perhaps waived your lien rights by signing a contract without closely examining it?

I recently came across a contract that contained the following clause: The subcontractor shall not file a mechanic’s or materialman’s lien or maintain any claim against the owner’s real estate or improvements for or on account of any work done, labor performed or materials furnished under this contract.

When I read this, my first question was whether it was enforceable. It may be. Section 52-144(1) provides that a construction lien may be waived before or after materials or services are contracted for or furnished. I could see a judge allowing a subcontractor to waive its lien rights in the contract.

The second question I had was why would you sign an agreement with this language? I understand that you may need the job, but waiving your lien rights gives up one of your best opportunities to demand payment. I think the more accurate answer to the question is that the subcontractor did not see that sentence tucked into a fourteen page contract.

As we have said any number of times, it is so important to read and understand your entire contract.