Assignment of Contract

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What is an assignment of contract.

An assignment of contract is a legal term that describes the process that occurs when the original party (assignor) transfers their rights and obligations under their contract to a third party (assignee). When an assignment of contract happens, the original party is relieved of their contractual duties, and their role is replaced by the approved incoming party.

How Does Assignment of Contract Work?

An assignment of contract is simpler than you might think.

The process starts with an existing contract party who wishes to transfer their contractual obligations to a new party.

When this occurs, the existing contract party must first confirm that an assignment of contract is permissible under the legally binding agreement . Some contracts prohibit assignments of contract altogether, and some require the other parties of the agreement to agree to the transfer. However, the general rule is that contracts are freely assignable unless there is an explicit provision that says otherwise.

In other cases, some contracts allow an assignment of contract without any formal notification to other contract parties. If this is the case, once the existing contract party decides to reassign his duties, he must create a “Letter of Assignment ” to notify any other contract signers of the change.

The Letter of Assignment must include details about who is to take over the contractual obligations of the exiting party and when the transfer will take place. If the assignment is valid, the assignor is not required to obtain the consent or signature of the other parties to the original contract for the valid assignment to take place.

Check out this article to learn more about how assigning a contract works.

Contract Assignment Examples

Contract assignments are great tools for contract parties to use when they wish to transfer their commitments to a third party. Here are some examples of contract assignments to help you better understand them:

Anna signs a contract with a local trash company that entitles her to have her trash picked up twice a week. A year later, the trash company transferred her contract to a new trash service provider. This contract assignment effectively makes Anna’s contract now with the new service provider.

Hasina enters a contract with a national phone company for cell phone service. The company goes into bankruptcy and needs to close its doors but decides to transfer all current contracts to another provider who agrees to honor the same rates and level of service. The contract assignment is completed, and Hasina now has a contract with the new phone company as a result.

Here is an article where you can find out more about contract assignments.

what is an assignment of construction contract

Assignment of Contract in Real Estate

Assignment of contract is also used in real estate to make money without going the well-known routes of buying and flipping houses. When real estate LLC investors use an assignment of contract, they can make money off properties without ever actually buying them by instead opting to transfer real estate contracts .

This process is called real estate wholesaling.

Real Estate Wholesaling

Real estate wholesaling consists of locating deals on houses that you don’t plan to buy but instead plan to enter a contract to reassign the house to another buyer and pocket the profit.

The process is simple: real estate wholesalers negotiate purchase contracts with sellers. Then, they present these contracts to buyers who pay them an assignment fee for transferring the contract.

This process works because a real estate purchase agreement does not come with the obligation to buy a property. Instead, it sets forth certain purchasing parameters that must be fulfilled by the buyer of the property. In a nutshell, whoever signs the purchase contract has the right to buy the property, but those rights can usually be transferred by means of an assignment of contract.

This means that as long as the buyer who’s involved in the assignment of contract agrees with the purchasing terms, they can legally take over the contract.

But how do real estate wholesalers find these properties?

It is easier than you might think. Here are a few examples of ways that wholesalers find cheap houses to turn a profit on:

  • Direct mailers
  • Place newspaper ads
  • Make posts in online forums
  • Social media posts

The key to finding the perfect home for an assignment of contract is to locate sellers that are looking to get rid of their properties quickly. This might be a family who is looking to relocate for a job opportunity or someone who needs to make repairs on a home but can’t afford it. Either way, the quicker the wholesaler can close the deal, the better.

Once a property is located, wholesalers immediately go to work getting the details ironed out about how the sale will work. Transparency is key when it comes to wholesaling. This means that when a wholesaler intends to use an assignment of contract to transfer the rights to another person, they are always upfront about during the preliminary phases of the sale.

In addition to this practice just being good business, it makes sure the process goes as smoothly as possible later down the line. Wholesalers are clear in their intent and make sure buyers know that the contract could be transferred to another buyer before the closing date arrives.

After their offer is accepted and warranties are determined, wholesalers move to complete a title search . Title searches ensure that sellers have the right to enter into a purchase agreement on the property. They do this by searching for any outstanding tax payments, liens , or other roadblocks that could prevent the sale from going through.

Wholesalers also often work with experienced real estate lawyers who ensure that all of the legal paperwork is forthcoming and will stand up in court. Lawyers can also assist in the contract negotiation process if needed but often don’t come in until the final stages.

If the title search comes back clear and the real estate lawyer gives the green light, the wholesaler will immediately move to locate an entity to transfer the rights to buy.

One of the most attractive advantages of real estate wholesaling is that very little money is needed to get started. The process of finding a seller, negotiating a price, and performing a title search is an extremely cheap process that almost anyone can do.

On the other hand, it is not always a positive experience. It can be hard for wholesalers to find sellers who will agree to sell their homes for less than the market value. Even when they do, there is always a chance that the transferred buyer will back out of the sale, which leaves wholesalers obligated to either purchase the property themselves or scramble to find a new person to complete an assignment of contract with.

Learn more about assignment of contract in real estate by checking out this article .

Who Handles Assignment of Contract?

The best person to handle an assignment of contract is an attorney. Since these are detailed legal documents that deal with thousands of dollars, it is never a bad idea to have a professional on your side. If you need help with an assignment of contract or signing a business contract , post a project on ContractsCounsel. There, you can connect with attorneys who know everything there is to know about assignment of contract amendment and can walk you through the whole process.

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Assignment in construction contracts

Published by a lexisnexis construction expert.

This Practice Note looks at why assignment of rights is an important issue in construction and when parties might need to assign their rights. It explains how assignment differs to novation , and sets out the steps to be taken to effect a valid assignment. It also looks at the effect of an assignment and the issues that parties should be aware of when bringing claims following assignment. It also notes the implications of the Business Contract Terms (Assignment of Receivables) Regulations 2018.

When reviewing the assignment provisions in a construction contract, see: Assignment of construction documents—checklist for details of the key issues to consider. For guidance on how assignments in construction may be restricted, see Practice Note: Restrictions on the assignment of rights in construction contracts.

What is an assignment?

This Practice Note focuses on how assignment applies in the context of construction contracts but the law relating to assignment is of relevance across many different sectors, including banking and finance (see Practice Note: Assignments by way of security), property (see: Transfers and assignments—overview—Property), and in terms of copyright (see

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Related legal acts:

  • Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 (1978 c 47)
  • Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 (1999 c 31)
  • Law of Property Act 1925 (1925 c 20)

Key definition:

Assignment definition, what does assignment mean.

An assignment is 'an immediate transfer of an existing proprietary right, vested or contingent from one party to another'. Assignments can occur by consent or by operation of law.

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  • assignments basic law

Assignments: The Basic Law

The assignment of a right or obligation is a common contractual event under the law and the right to assign (or prohibition against assignments) is found in the majority of agreements, leases and business structural documents created in the United States.

As with many terms commonly used, people are familiar with the term but often are not aware or fully aware of what the terms entail. The concept of assignment of rights and obligations is one of those simple concepts with wide ranging ramifications in the contractual and business context and the law imposes severe restrictions on the validity and effect of assignment in many instances. Clear contractual provisions concerning assignments and rights should be in every document and structure created and this article will outline why such drafting is essential for the creation of appropriate and effective contracts and structures.

The reader should first read the article on Limited Liability Entities in the United States and Contracts since the information in those articles will be assumed in this article.

Basic Definitions and Concepts:

An assignment is the transfer of rights held by one party called the “assignor” to another party called the “assignee.” The legal nature of the assignment and the contractual terms of the agreement between the parties determines some additional rights and liabilities that accompany the assignment. The assignment of rights under a contract usually completely transfers the rights to the assignee to receive the benefits accruing under the contract. Ordinarily, the term assignment is limited to the transfer of rights that are intangible, like contractual rights and rights connected with property. Merchants Service Co. v. Small Claims Court , 35 Cal. 2d 109, 113-114 (Cal. 1950).

An assignment will generally be permitted under the law unless there is an express prohibition against assignment in the underlying contract or lease. Where assignments are permitted, the assignor need not consult the other party to the contract but may merely assign the rights at that time. However, an assignment cannot have any adverse effect on the duties of the other party to the contract, nor can it diminish the chance of the other party receiving complete performance. The assignor normally remains liable unless there is an agreement to the contrary by the other party to the contract.

The effect of a valid assignment is to remove privity between the assignor and the obligor and create privity between the obligor and the assignee. Privity is usually defined as a direct and immediate contractual relationship. See Merchants case above.

Further, for the assignment to be effective in most jurisdictions, it must occur in the present. One does not normally assign a future right; the assignment vests immediate rights and obligations.

No specific language is required to create an assignment so long as the assignor makes clear his/her intent to assign identified contractual rights to the assignee. Since expensive litigation can erupt from ambiguous or vague language, obtaining the correct verbiage is vital. An agreement must manifest the intent to transfer rights and can either be oral or in writing and the rights assigned must be certain.

Note that an assignment of an interest is the transfer of some identifiable property, claim, or right from the assignor to the assignee. The assignment operates to transfer to the assignee all of the rights, title, or interest of the assignor in the thing assigned. A transfer of all rights, title, and interests conveys everything that the assignor owned in the thing assigned and the assignee stands in the shoes of the assignor. Knott v. McDonald’s Corp ., 985 F. Supp. 1222 (N.D. Cal. 1997)

The parties must intend to effectuate an assignment at the time of the transfer, although no particular language or procedure is necessary. As long ago as the case of National Reserve Co. v. Metropolitan Trust Co ., 17 Cal. 2d 827 (Cal. 1941), the court held that in determining what rights or interests pass under an assignment, the intention of the parties as manifested in the instrument is controlling.

The intent of the parties to an assignment is a question of fact to be derived not only from the instrument executed by the parties but also from the surrounding circumstances. When there is no writing to evidence the intention to transfer some identifiable property, claim, or right, it is necessary to scrutinize the surrounding circumstances and parties’ acts to ascertain their intentions. Strosberg v. Brauvin Realty Servs., 295 Ill. App. 3d 17 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 1998)

The general rule applicable to assignments of choses in action is that an assignment, unless there is a contract to the contrary, carries with it all securities held by the assignor as collateral to the claim and all rights incidental thereto and vests in the assignee the equitable title to such collateral securities and incidental rights. An unqualified assignment of a contract or chose in action, however, with no indication of the intent of the parties, vests in the assignee the assigned contract or chose and all rights and remedies incidental thereto.

More examples: In Strosberg v. Brauvin Realty Servs ., 295 Ill. App. 3d 17 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 1998), the court held that the assignee of a party to a subordination agreement is entitled to the benefits and is subject to the burdens of the agreement. In Florida E. C. R. Co. v. Eno , 99 Fla. 887 (Fla. 1930), the court held that the mere assignment of all sums due in and of itself creates no different or other liability of the owner to the assignee than that which existed from the owner to the assignor.

And note that even though an assignment vests in the assignee all rights, remedies, and contingent benefits which are incidental to the thing assigned, those which are personal to the assignor and for his sole benefit are not assigned. Rasp v. Hidden Valley Lake, Inc ., 519 N.E.2d 153, 158 (Ind. Ct. App. 1988). Thus, if the underlying agreement provides that a service can only be provided to X, X cannot assign that right to Y.

Novation Compared to Assignment:

Although the difference between a novation and an assignment may appear narrow, it is an essential one. “Novation is a act whereby one party transfers all its obligations and benefits under a contract to a third party.” In a novation, a third party successfully substitutes the original party as a party to the contract. “When a contract is novated, the other contracting party must be left in the same position he was in prior to the novation being made.”

A sublease is the transfer when a tenant retains some right of reentry onto the leased premises. However, if the tenant transfers the entire leasehold estate, retaining no right of reentry or other reversionary interest, then the transfer is an assignment. The assignor is normally also removed from liability to the landlord only if the landlord consents or allowed that right in the lease. In a sublease, the original tenant is not released from the obligations of the original lease.

Equitable Assignments:

An equitable assignment is one in which one has a future interest and is not valid at law but valid in a court of equity. In National Bank of Republic v. United Sec. Life Ins. & Trust Co. , 17 App. D.C. 112 (D.C. Cir. 1900), the court held that to constitute an equitable assignment of a chose in action, the following has to occur generally: anything said written or done, in pursuance of an agreement and for valuable consideration, or in consideration of an antecedent debt, to place a chose in action or fund out of the control of the owner, and appropriate it to or in favor of another person, amounts to an equitable assignment. Thus, an agreement, between a debtor and a creditor, that the debt shall be paid out of a specific fund going to the debtor may operate as an equitable assignment.

In Egyptian Navigation Co. v. Baker Invs. Corp. , 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30804 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 14, 2008), the court stated that an equitable assignment occurs under English law when an assignor, with an intent to transfer his/her right to a chose in action, informs the assignee about the right so transferred.

An executory agreement or a declaration of trust are also equitable assignments if unenforceable as assignments by a court of law but enforceable by a court of equity exercising sound discretion according to the circumstances of the case. Since California combines courts of equity and courts of law, the same court would hear arguments as to whether an equitable assignment had occurred. Quite often, such relief is granted to avoid fraud or unjust enrichment.

Note that obtaining an assignment through fraudulent means invalidates the assignment. Fraud destroys the validity of everything into which it enters. It vitiates the most solemn contracts, documents, and even judgments. Walker v. Rich , 79 Cal. App. 139 (Cal. App. 1926). If an assignment is made with the fraudulent intent to delay, hinder, and defraud creditors, then it is void as fraudulent in fact. See our article on Transfers to Defraud Creditors .

But note that the motives that prompted an assignor to make the transfer will be considered as immaterial and will constitute no defense to an action by the assignee, if an assignment is considered as valid in all other respects.

Enforceability of Assignments:

Whether a right under a contract is capable of being transferred is determined by the law of the place where the contract was entered into. The validity and effect of an assignment is determined by the law of the place of assignment. The validity of an assignment of a contractual right is governed by the law of the state with the most significant relationship to the assignment and the parties.

In some jurisdictions, the traditional conflict of laws rules governing assignments has been rejected and the law of the place having the most significant contacts with the assignment applies. In Downs v. American Mut. Liability Ins. Co ., 14 N.Y.2d 266 (N.Y. 1964), a wife and her husband separated and the wife obtained a judgment of separation from the husband in New York. The judgment required the husband to pay a certain yearly sum to the wife. The husband assigned 50 percent of his future salary, wages, and earnings to the wife. The agreement authorized the employer to make such payments to the wife.

After the husband moved from New York, the wife learned that he was employed by an employer in Massachusetts. She sent the proper notice and demanded payment under the agreement. The employer refused and the wife brought an action for enforcement. The court observed that Massachusetts did not prohibit assignment of the husband’s wages. Moreover, Massachusetts law was not controlling because New York had the most significant relationship with the assignment. Therefore, the court ruled in favor of the wife.

Therefore, the validity of an assignment is determined by looking to the law of the forum with the most significant relationship to the assignment itself. To determine the applicable law of assignments, the court must look to the law of the state which is most significantly related to the principal issue before it.

Assignment of Contractual Rights:

Generally, the law allows the assignment of a contractual right unless the substitution of rights would materially change the duty of the obligor, materially increase the burden or risk imposed on the obligor by the contract, materially impair the chance of obtaining return performance, or materially reduce the value of the performance to the obligor. Restat 2d of Contracts, § 317(2)(a). This presumes that the underlying agreement is silent on the right to assign.

If the contract specifically precludes assignment, the contractual right is not assignable. Whether a contract is assignable is a matter of contractual intent and one must look to the language used by the parties to discern that intent.

In the absence of an express provision to the contrary, the rights and duties under a bilateral executory contract that does not involve personal skill, trust, or confidence may be assigned without the consent of the other party. But note that an assignment is invalid if it would materially alter the other party’s duties and responsibilities. Once an assignment is effective, the assignee stands in the shoes of the assignor and assumes all of assignor’s rights. Hence, after a valid assignment, the assignor’s right to performance is extinguished, transferred to assignee, and the assignee possesses the same rights, benefits, and remedies assignor once possessed. Robert Lamb Hart Planners & Architects v. Evergreen, Ltd. , 787 F. Supp. 753 (S.D. Ohio 1992).

On the other hand, an assignee’s right against the obligor is subject to “all of the limitations of the assignor’s right, all defenses thereto, and all set-offs and counterclaims which would have been available against the assignor had there been no assignment, provided that these defenses and set-offs are based on facts existing at the time of the assignment.” See Robert Lamb , case, above.

The power of the contract to restrict assignment is broad. Usually, contractual provisions that restrict assignment of the contract without the consent of the obligor are valid and enforceable, even when there is statutory authorization for the assignment. The restriction of the power to assign is often ineffective unless the restriction is expressly and precisely stated. Anti-assignment clauses are effective only if they contain clear, unambiguous language of prohibition. Anti-assignment clauses protect only the obligor and do not affect the transaction between the assignee and assignor.

Usually, a prohibition against the assignment of a contract does not prevent an assignment of the right to receive payments due, unless circumstances indicate the contrary. Moreover, the contracting parties cannot, by a mere non-assignment provision, prevent the effectual alienation of the right to money which becomes due under the contract.

A contract provision prohibiting or restricting an assignment may be waived, or a party may so act as to be estopped from objecting to the assignment, such as by effectively ratifying the assignment. The power to void an assignment made in violation of an anti-assignment clause may be waived either before or after the assignment. See our article on Contracts.

Noncompete Clauses and Assignments:

Of critical import to most buyers of businesses is the ability to ensure that key employees of the business being purchased cannot start a competing company. Some states strictly limit such clauses, some do allow them. California does restrict noncompete clauses, only allowing them under certain circumstances. A common question in those states that do allow them is whether such rights can be assigned to a new party, such as the buyer of the buyer.

A covenant not to compete, also called a non-competitive clause, is a formal agreement prohibiting one party from performing similar work or business within a designated area for a specified amount of time. This type of clause is generally included in contracts between employer and employee and contracts between buyer and seller of a business.

Many workers sign a covenant not to compete as part of the paperwork required for employment. It may be a separate document similar to a non-disclosure agreement, or buried within a number of other clauses in a contract. A covenant not to compete is generally legal and enforceable, although there are some exceptions and restrictions.

Whenever a company recruits skilled employees, it invests a significant amount of time and training. For example, it often takes years before a research chemist or a design engineer develops a workable knowledge of a company’s product line, including trade secrets and highly sensitive information. Once an employee gains this knowledge and experience, however, all sorts of things can happen. The employee could work for the company until retirement, accept a better offer from a competing company or start up his or her own business.

A covenant not to compete may cover a number of potential issues between employers and former employees. Many companies spend years developing a local base of customers or clients. It is important that this customer base not fall into the hands of local competitors. When an employee signs a covenant not to compete, he or she usually agrees not to use insider knowledge of the company’s customer base to disadvantage the company. The covenant not to compete often defines a broad geographical area considered off-limits to former employees, possibly tens or hundreds of miles.

Another area of concern covered by a covenant not to compete is a potential ‘brain drain’. Some high-level former employees may seek to recruit others from the same company to create new competition. Retention of employees, especially those with unique skills or proprietary knowledge, is vital for most companies, so a covenant not to compete may spell out definite restrictions on the hiring or recruiting of employees.

A covenant not to compete may also define a specific amount of time before a former employee can seek employment in a similar field. Many companies offer a substantial severance package to make sure former employees are financially solvent until the terms of the covenant not to compete have been met.

Because the use of a covenant not to compete can be controversial, a handful of states, including California, have largely banned this type of contractual language. The legal enforcement of these agreements falls on individual states, and many have sided with the employee during arbitration or litigation. A covenant not to compete must be reasonable and specific, with defined time periods and coverage areas. If the agreement gives the company too much power over former employees or is ambiguous, state courts may declare it to be overbroad and therefore unenforceable. In such case, the employee would be free to pursue any employment opportunity, including working for a direct competitor or starting up a new company of his or her own.

It has been held that an employee’s covenant not to compete is assignable where one business is transferred to another, that a merger does not constitute an assignment of a covenant not to compete, and that a covenant not to compete is enforceable by a successor to the employer where the assignment does not create an added burden of employment or other disadvantage to the employee. However, in some states such as Hawaii, it has also been held that a covenant not to compete is not assignable and under various statutes for various reasons that such covenants are not enforceable against an employee by a successor to the employer. Hawaii v. Gannett Pac. Corp. , 99 F. Supp. 2d 1241 (D. Haw. 1999)

It is vital to obtain the relevant law of the applicable state before drafting or attempting to enforce assignment rights in this particular area.

Conclusion:

In the current business world of fast changing structures, agreements, employees and projects, the ability to assign rights and obligations is essential to allow flexibility and adjustment to new situations. Conversely, the ability to hold a contracting party into the deal may be essential for the future of a party. Thus, the law of assignments and the restriction on same is a critical aspect of every agreement and every structure. This basic provision is often glanced at by the contracting parties, or scribbled into the deal at the last minute but can easily become the most vital part of the transaction.

As an example, one client of ours came into the office outraged that his co venturer on a sizable exporting agreement, who had excellent connections in Brazil, had elected to pursue another venture instead and assigned the agreement to a party unknown to our client and without the business contacts our client considered vital. When we examined the handwritten agreement our client had drafted in a restaurant in Sao Paolo, we discovered there was no restriction on assignment whatsoever…our client had not even considered that right when drafting the agreement after a full day of work.

One choses who one does business with carefully…to ensure that one’s choice remains the party on the other side of the contract, one must master the ability to negotiate proper assignment provisions.

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Contract Assignments

(This may not be the same place you live)

  What is a Contract Assignment?

In a contract assignment, one of the two parties to a contract may transfer their right to the other’s performance to a third party. This is known as “contract assignment.” Generally, all rights under a contract may be assigned. A provision in the contract that states the contract may not be assigned usually refers to the delegation of the assignor’s (person who assigns) duties under that contract, not their rights under the contract. 

In modern law, the phrase “assignment of contract” usually means assignment of both rights and duties under a contract.

Who are the Various Parties Involved in a Contract Assignment?

How is a contract assignment created, when is a contract assignment prohibited, which parties are liable to each other in a contract assignment, are there issues with multiple assignments, should i hire a lawyer for contract assignments.

In a contract, there are two parties to the agreement, X and Y. The parties may agree to let X assign X’s rights to a third party . Once the third party enters the picture, each party has a special name. For instance, suppose X, a seller of bookmarks, contracts with Y, a purchaser of bookmarks. Y desires to have Y’s right to X’s performance (the sale of bookmarks on a monthly basis) to another person. 

This third person, Z, is called the assignee. X is called the obligor , and Y is called the assignor , since Y has assigned its right to X’s performance . X, the obligor, is obligated to continue to perform its duties under the agreement.

There are no “magic words” needed to create an assignment. The law simply requires that the would-be assignor have an intent to immediately and completely transfer their rights in the agreement. In addition, writing is typically not required to create an assignment. As long as X and Y both adequately understand what right is being assigned, an assignment is created. 

Words that indicate a transfer is to take place suffice, such as “I intend to transfer my rights under this agreement,” or, “I intend to give my rights to Z,” or “I intend to confer an assignment on Z.” In addition,consideration,which is a bargained-for exchange required for a contract to be valid, is not required for assignment.

In certain instances, an assignment of contract rights can be prohibited. If the contract contains a clause prohibiting assignment of “the contract,” without specifying more, the law construes this language as barring only delegation of the assignor’s duties, not their rights. If the assignment language states “assignment of contractual rights are prohibited,” the obligor may sue for damages if the assignor attempts to assign the agreement. If the contract language states that attempts to assign “will be void,” the parties can bar assignment.of rights.

Under modern contract law, the phrase “I assign the contract” is usually interpreted to mean that one is assigning rights and duties. What is an assignment of duties? An assignment of duties occurs where Y, called the obligor or delegator, promises to perform for X, the obligee. Y then delegates their duty to perform to Z, the delegate. Under the law, most duties can be delegated. 

There are exceptions to this rule. Delegation can be prohibited when:

  • The duties to be performed involve personal judgment and special skill (e.g., a portrait, creation of a custom-made dress). 
  • “Personal judgment” is the exercise of some kind of superior judgment when it comes to determining how, when, or where to do something. Examples of individuals who exercise personal judgment include talent scouts and financial advisors.  Special skill is the unique ability to create a good or perform a service. A delegator can be prohibited from delegating duties when it is that specific delegator’s services are sought. For example, if the services of a specific famous chef are sought, and the original agreement was entered into on the understanding that the chef was hired for their specific talent, the delegator may not delegate the services;
  • The assignment fundamentally changes risks or responsibilities under the agreement;
  • The assignment is over future rights associated with a future contract that does not currently exist;
  • Delegation would increase the obligation of the obligee. For example, if a shoe manufacturer contracts to deliver soles to a store in the same town as the shoe factory, the other party cannot assign the delivery to a different store in another state. Doing so would impose a greater obligation on the obligee than was originally contemplated;
  • The obligee had placed special trust in the delegator. For example, assume that you have hired a patent attorney, based on that attorney’s significant skill and expertise, to obtain a valuable patent. You have placed special trust in this person, hiring them instead of other patent attorneys, because of their unique expertise. In such a situation, the attorney may not delegate his duties to another attorney (delegate), since the attorney was hired because of one person’s special capabilities;
  • The delegation is of a promise to repay a debt; or
  • The contract itself restricts or prohibits delegation. If the contract states, “any attempt to delegate duties under this contract is void,” a delegation will not be permitted.

In a contract involving assignment of rights, the assignee may sue the obligor. This is because the assignee, once the assignee has been assigned rights, is entitled to performance under the contract. If the obligor had a defense that existed in the original contract between obligor and assignor, the obligor may assert that defense against the assignee. Examples of such defenses include the original contract was not valid because of lack of consideration, or because there was never a valid offer or acceptance).

An assignee may also sue an assignor. Generally, if an assignment is made for consideration,it is irrevocable. Assignments not made for consideration, but under which an obligor has already performed, are also irrevocable. If an assignor attempts to revoke an irrevocable assignment,the assignee may sue for “wrongful revocation.” 

In circumstances involving delegation of duties,an obligee must accept performance from the delegate of all duties that may be delegated. The delegator remains liable on the agreement. Therefore, the obligee may sue the delegator for nonperformance by the delegate. The obligee may sue the delegate for nonperformance, but can only require the delegate to perform if there has been an assumption by the delegate. An assumption by the delegate is a promise that the delegate will perform the delegated duty, which promise is supported by consideration. 

Assignments that are not supported by consideration are revocable. If an initial assignment is revocable, a subsequent assignment can revoke it. If a first assignment is irrevocable, because consideration was present,the first assignment will usually prevail over a subsequent assignment. This means the person who can claim the assignment was first made to them will prevail over someone who claims a subsequent assignment. 

If, however, the second person paid value for the assignment, and entered into the assignment without knowing of the first assignment, the “subsequent”assignee is entitled to proceeds the first judgment against the obligor (the original party who still must perform), in the event such a judgment is issued,

If you have an issue with assignment of rights or duties under a contract, you should contact a contract lawyer  for advice. An experienced business lawyer near you can review the facts of your case, advise you of your rights, and represent you in court proceedings.

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what is an assignment of construction contract

Ultimate Checklist for Understanding Contract Assignment Rules

  • February 28, 2024
  • Moton Legal Group

what is an assignment of construction contract

In contracts, understanding assignment is key. Simply put, an assignment in contract law is when one party (the assignor) transfers their rights and responsibilities under a contract to another party (the assignee). This can include anything from leasing agreements to business operations. But why is this important? It’s because it allows for flexibility in business and personal dealings, a critical component in our world.

Here’s a quick rundown: – Contract Basics: The foundational agreements between parties. – Assignment Importance: Allowing the transfer of obligations and benefits to keep up with life’s changes.

Contracts are a staple in both personal and business worlds, acting as the backbone to many transactions and agreements encountered daily. Understanding the nuances, like assignments, can empower you to navigate these waters with confidence and ease. Whether you’re a business owner in the Southeast looking to expand or an individual managing personal agreements, grasp these basics, and you’re on the right path.

Detailed infographic on the concept of contract assignment in law, explaining the roles of the assignor and assignee, the process of an actual assignment, and a visual representation of the transfer of rights and obligations under a contract. - assignment in contract law infographic process-5-steps-informal

Understanding Contract Assignment

Contract Assignment sounds complicated, right? But, let’s break it down into simple terms. In contracts and legal agreements, knowing about assignment can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Whether you’re a business owner, a landlord, or just someone who deals with contracts, this is for you.

Legal Definition

At its core, contract assignment is about transferring rights or obligations under a contract from one party to another. Think of it as passing a baton in a relay race. The original party (the assignor) hands off their responsibilities or benefits to someone else (the assignee). But, there’s a twist – the race keeps going with the new runner without starting over.

Contract Law

In contract law, assignment comes into play in various ways. For example, if you’re a freelancer and you’ve agreed to complete a project but suddenly find yourself overbooked, you might assign that contract to another freelancer. This way, the job gets done, and your client is happy. However, not all contracts can be freely assigned. Some require the other party’s consent, and others can’t be assigned at all, especially if they involve personal skills or confidential trust.

Property Law

When it comes to property law, assignment often surfaces in landlord-tenant relationships. Say you’re renting a shop for your business, but you decide to move. If your lease allows it, you might assign your lease to another business. This means they take over your lease, stepping into your shoes, with all the rights and obligations that come with it.

The concept might seem straightforward, but there are important legal requirements and potential pitfalls to be aware of. For instance, an assignment could be prohibited by the contract itself, or it may significantly change the original deal’s terms in a way that’s not allowed. Plus, when you’re dealing with something that requires a unique skill set, like an artist or a consultant, those services typically can’t be passed on to someone else without agreement from all parties involved.

To navigate these complexities, understanding the fundamentals of assignment in contract law and property law is crucial. It ensures that when you’re ready to pass that baton, you’re doing it in a way that’s legal, effective, and doesn’t leave you tripping up before you reach the finish line.

The goal here is to make sure everyone involved understands what’s happening and agrees to it. That way, assignments can be a useful tool to manage your contracts and property agreements, keeping things moving smoothly even when changes come up.

For more detailed exploration on this topic, consider checking the comprehensive guide on Assignment (law)). This resource dives deeper into the nuances of contract assignment, offering insights and examples that can help clarify this complex area of law.

By grasping these basics, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of contract assignment. Whether you’re dealing with leases, business deals, or any agreement in between, knowing how to effectively assign a contract can be a game-changer.

Key Differences Between Assignment and Novation

When diving into contracts, two terms that often cause confusion are assignment and novation . While both deal with transferring obligations and rights under a contract, they are fundamentally different in several key aspects. Understanding these differences is crucial for anyone involved in contract management or negotiation.

Rights Transfer

Assignment involves the transfer of benefits or rights from one party (the assignor) to another (the assignee). However, it’s important to note that only the benefits of the contract can be assigned, not the burdens. For instance, if someone has the right to receive payments under a contract, they can assign this right to someone else.

Novation , on the other hand, is more comprehensive. It involves transferring both the rights and obligations under a contract from one party to a new party. With novation, the original party is completely released from the contract, and a new contractual relationship is formed between the remaining and the new party. This is a key distinction because, in novation, all parties must agree to this new arrangement.

Obligations Transfer

Assignment doesn’t transfer the original party’s obligations under the contract. The assignor (the original party who had the rights under the contract) might still be liable if the assignee fails to fulfill the contract terms.

In contrast, novation transfers all obligations to the new party. Once a novation is complete, the new party takes over all rights and obligations, leaving the original party with no further legal liabilities or rights under the contract.

Written Agreement

While assignments can sometimes be informal or even verbal, novation almost always requires a written agreement. This is because novation affects more parties’ rights and obligations and has a more significant impact on the contractual relationship. A written agreement ensures that all parties are clear about the terms of the novation and their respective responsibilities.

In practice, the need for a written agreement in novation serves as a protection for all parties involved. It ensures that the transfer of obligations is clearly documented and legally enforceable.

For example, let’s say Alex agrees to paint Bailey’s house for $1,000. Later, Alex decides they can’t complete the job and wants Chris to take over. If Bailey agrees, they can sign a novation agreement where Chris agrees to paint the house under the same conditions. Alex is then relieved from the original contract, and Chris becomes responsible for completing the painting job.

Understanding the difference between assignment and novation is critical for anyone dealing with contracts. While both processes allow for the transfer of rights or obligations, they do so in different ways and with varying implications for all parties involved. Knowing when and how to use each can help ensure that your contractual relationships are managed effectively and legally sound.

For further in-depth information and real-life case examples on assignment in contract law, you can explore detailed resources such as Assignment (law) on Wikipedia).

Next, we’ll delve into the legal requirements for a valid assignment, touching on express prohibition, material change, future rights, and the rare skill requirement. Understanding these will further equip you to navigate the complexities of contract assignments successfully.

Legal Requirements for a Valid Assignment

When dealing with assignment in contract law , it’s crucial to understand the legal backbone that supports a valid assignment. This ensures that the assignment stands up in a court of law if disputes arise. Let’s break down the must-know legal requirements: express prohibition, material change, future rights, and rare skill requirement.

Express Prohibition

The first stop on our checklist is to look for an express prohibition against assignment in the contract. This is a clause that outright states assignments are not allowed without the other party’s consent. If such language exists and you proceed with an assignment, you could be breaching the contract. Always read the fine print or have a legal expert review the contract for you.

Material Change

Next up is the material change requirement. The law states that an assignment cannot significantly alter the duties, increase the burdens, or impair the chances of the other party receiving due performance under the contract. For instance, if the contract involves personal services tailored to the specific party, assigning it to someone else might change the expected outcome, making such an assignment invalid.

Future Rights

Another important aspect is future rights . The rule here is straightforward: you can’t assign what you don’t have. This means that a promise to assign rights you may acquire in the future is generally not enforceable at present. An effective assignment requires that the rights exist at the time of the assignment.

Rare Skill Requirement

Lastly, let’s talk about the rare skill requirement . Some contracts are so specialized that they cannot be assigned to another party without compromising the contract’s integrity. This is often the case with contracts that rely on an individual’s unique skills or trust. Think of an artist commissioned for a portrait or a lawyer hired for their specialized legal expertise. In these scenarios, assignments are not feasible as they could severely impact the contract’s intended outcome.

Understanding these legal requirements is pivotal for navigating the complexities of assignment in contract law. By ensuring compliance with these principles, you can effectively manage contract assignments, safeguarding your interests and those of the other contracting party.

For anyone looking to delve deeper into the intricacies of contract law, you can explore detailed resources such as Assignment (law) on Wikipedia).

Moving forward, we’ll explore the common types of contract assignments, from landlord-tenant agreements to business contracts and intellectual property transfers. This will give you a clearer picture of how assignments work across different legal landscapes.

Common Types of Contract Assignments

When we dive into assignment in contract law , we find it touches nearly every aspect of our business and personal lives. Let’s simplify this complex topic by looking at some of the most common types of contract assignments you might encounter.

Landlord-Tenant Agreements

Imagine you’re renting a fantastic apartment but have to move because of a new job. Instead of breaking your lease, you can assign your lease to someone else. This means the new tenant takes over your lease, including rent payments and maintenance responsibilities. However, it’s crucial that the landlord agrees to this switch. If done right, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Landlord and tenant shaking hands - assignment in contract law

Business Contracts

In the business world, contract assignments are a daily occurrence. For example, if a company agrees to provide services but then realizes it’s overbooked, it can assign the contract to another company that can fulfill the obligations. This way, the project is completed on time, and the client remains happy. It’s a common practice that ensures flexibility and efficiency in business operations.

Business contract signing - assignment in contract law

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) assignments are fascinating and complex. If an inventor creates a new product, they can assign their patent rights to a company in exchange for a lump sum or royalties. This transfer allows the company to produce and sell the invention, while the inventor benefits financially. However, it’s critical to note that with trademarks, the goodwill associated with the mark must also be transferred to maintain its value.

Patent documents and invention sketches - assignment in contract law

Understanding these types of assignments helps clarify the vast landscape of contract law. Whether it’s a cozy apartment, a crucial business deal, or a groundbreaking invention, assignments play a pivotal role in ensuring these transitions happen smoothly.

As we navigate through the realm of contract assignments, each type has its own set of rules and best practices. The key is to ensure all parties are on the same page and that the assignment is executed properly to avoid any legal pitfalls.

Diving deeper into the subject, next, we will explore how to execute a contract assignment effectively, ensuring all legal requirements are met and the process runs as smoothly as possible.

How to Execute a Contract Assignment Effectively

Executing a contract assignment effectively is crucial to ensure that all legal requirements are met and the process runs smoothly. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you navigate this process without any hiccups.

Written Consent

First and foremost, get written consent . This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how often this step is overlooked. If the original contract requires the consent of the other party for an assignment to be valid, make sure you have this in black and white. Not just a handshake or a verbal agreement. This ensures clarity and avoids any ambiguity or disputes down the line.

Notice of Assignment

Next up, provide a notice of assignment to all relevant parties. This is not just common courtesy; it’s often a legal requirement. It informs all parties involved about the change in the assignment of rights or obligations under the contract. Think of it as updating your address with the post office; everyone needs to know where to send the mail now.

Privity of Estate

Understanding privity of estate is key in real estate transactions and leases. It refers to the legal relationship that exists between parties under a contract. When you assign a contract, the assignee steps into your shoes, but the original terms of the contract still apply. This means the assignee needs to be aware of and comply with the original agreement’s requirements.

Secondary Liability

Lastly, let’s talk about secondary liability . Just because you’ve assigned a contract doesn’t always mean you’re off the hook. In some cases, the original party (the assignor) may still hold some liability if the assignee fails to perform under the contract. It’s essential to understand the terms of your assignment agreement and whether it includes a release from liability for the assignor.

Executing a contract assignment effectively is all about dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s . By following these steps—securing written consent, issuing a notice of assignment, understanding privity of estate, and clarifying secondary liability—you’re setting yourself up for a seamless transition.

The goal is to ensure all parties are fully informed and agreeable to the changes being made. This not only helps in maintaining good relationships but also in avoiding potential legal issues down the line.

We’ll dive into some of the frequently asked questions about contract assignment to clear any lingering doubts.

Frequently Asked Questions about Contract Assignment

When navigating contracts, questions often arise, particularly about the concepts of assignment and novation. Let’s break these down into simpler terms.

What does assignment of a contract mean?

In the realm of assignment in contract law , think of assignment as passing the baton in a relay race. It’s where one party (the assignor) transfers their rights and benefits under a contract to another party (the assignee). However, unlike a relay race, the original party might still be on the hook for obligations unless the contract says otherwise. It’s like handing off the baton but still running alongside the new runner just in case.

Is an assignment legally binding?

Absolutely, an assignment is as binding as a pinky promise in the playground – but with legal muscle behind it. Once an assignment meets the necessary legal criteria (like not significantly changing the obligor’s duties or having express consent if required), it’s set in stone. This means both the assignee and the assignor must honor this transfer of rights or face potential legal actions. It’s a serious commitment, not just a casual exchange.

What is the difference between assignment and novation?

Now, this is where it gets a bit more intricate. If assignment is passing the baton, novation is forming a new team mid-race. It involves replacing an old obligation with a new one or adding a new party to take over an old one’s duties. Crucially, novation extinguishes the old contract and requires all original and new parties to agree. It’s a clean slate – the original party walks away, and the new party steps in, no strings attached.

While both assignment and novation change the playing field of a contract, novation requires a unanimous thumbs up from everyone involved, completely freeing the original party from their obligations. On the other hand, an assignment might leave the original party watching from the sidelines, ready to jump back in if needed.

Understanding these facets of assignment in contract law is crucial, whether you’re diving into a new agreement or navigating an existing one. Knowledge is power – especially when it comes to contracts.

As we wrap up these FAQs, the legal world of contracts is vast and sometimes complex, but breaking it down into bite-sized pieces can help demystify the process and empower you in your legal undertakings.

Here’s a helpful resource for further reading on the difference between assignment and cession.

Now, let’s continue on to the conclusion to tie all these insights together.

Navigating assignment in contract law can seem like a daunting task at first glance. However, with the right information and guidance, it becomes an invaluable tool in ensuring that your rights and obligations are protected and effectively managed in any contractual relationship.

At Moton Legal Group, we understand the intricacies of contract law and are dedicated to providing you with the expertise and support you need to navigate these waters. Whether you’re dealing with a straightforward contract assignment or facing more complex legal challenges, our team is here to help. We pride ourselves on our ability to demystify legal processes and make them accessible to everyone.

The key to successfully managing any contract assignment lies in understanding your rights, the obligations involved, and the potential impacts on all parties. It’s about ensuring that the assignment is executed in a way that is legally sound and aligns with your interests.

If you’re in need of assistance with a contract review, looking to understand more about how contract assignments work, or simply seeking legal advice on your contractual rights and responsibilities, Moton Legal Group is here for you. Our team of experienced attorneys is committed to providing the clarity, insight, and support you need to navigate the complexities of contract law with confidence.

For more information on how we can assist you with your contract review and other legal needs, visit our contract review service page .

In the constantly evolving landscape of contract law, having a trusted legal partner can make all the difference. Let Moton Legal Group be your guide, ensuring that your contractual dealings are handled with the utmost care, professionalism, and expertise. Together, we can navigate the complexities of contract law and secure the best possible outcomes for your legal matters.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the fundamentals of assignment in contract law. We hope you found this information helpful and feel more empowered to handle your contractual affairs with confidence.

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What Is an Assignment of Contract?

Assignment of Contract Explained

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Assignment of contract allows one person to assign, or transfer, their rights, obligations, or property to another. An assignment of contract clause is often included in contracts to give either party the opportunity to transfer their part of the contract to someone else in the future. Many assignment clauses require that both parties agree to the assignment.

Learn more about assignment of contract and how it works.

What Is Assignment of Contract?

Assignment of contract means the contract and the property, rights, or obligations within it can be assigned to another party. An assignment of contract clause can typically be found in a business contract. This type of clause is common in contracts with suppliers or vendors and in intellectual property (patent, trademark , and copyright) agreements.

How Does Assignment of Contract Work?

An assignment may be made to anyone, but it is typically made to a subsidiary or a successor. A subsidiary is a business owned by another business, while a successor is the business that follows a sale, acquisition, or merger.

Let’s suppose Ken owns a lawn mowing service and he has a contract with a real estate firm to mow at each of their offices every week in the summer. The contract includes an assignment clause, so when Ken goes out of business, he assigns the contract to his sister-in-law Karrie, who also owns a lawn mowing service.

Before you try to assign something in a contract, check the contract to make sure it's allowed, and notify the other party in the contract.

Assignment usually is included in a specific clause in a contract. It typically includes transfer of both accountability and responsibility to another party, but liability usually remains with the assignor (the person doing the assigning) unless there is language to the contrary.

What Does Assignment of Contract Cover?

Generally, just about anything of value in a contract can be assigned, unless there is a specific law or public policy disallowing the assignment.

Rights and obligations of specific people can’t be assigned because special skills and abilities can’t be transferred. This is called specific performance.   For example, Billy Joel wouldn't be able to transfer or assign a contract to perform at Madison Square Garden to someone else—they wouldn't have his special abilities.

Assignments won’t stand up in court if the assignment significantly changes the terms of the contract. For example, if Karrie’s business is tree trimming, not lawn mowing, the contract can’t be assigned to her.

Assigning Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks) has value, and these assets are often assigned. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) says patents are personal property and that patent rights can be assigned. Trademarks, too, can be assigned. The assignment must be registered with the USPTO's Electronic Trademark Assignment System (ETAS) .  

The U.S. Copyright Office doesn't keep a database of copyright assignments, but they will record the document if you follow their procedure.

Alternatives to Assignment of Contract

There are other types of transfers that may be functional alternatives to assignment.

Licensing is an agreement whereby one party leases the rights to use a piece of property (for example, intellectual property) from another. For instance, a business that owns a patent may license another company to make products using that patent.  

Delegation permits someone else to act on your behalf. For example, Ken’s lawn service might delegate Karrie to do mowing for him without assigning the entire contract to her. Ken would still receive the payment and control the work.

Do I Need an Assignment of Contract?

Assignment of contract can be a useful clause to include in a business agreement. The most common cases of assignment of contract in a business situation are:

  • Assignment of a trademark, copyright, or patent
  • Assignments to a successor company in the case of the sale of the business
  • Assignment in a contract with a supplier or customer
  • Assignment in an employment contract or work for hire agreement

Before you sign a contract, look to see if there is an assignment clause, and get the advice of an attorney if you want to assign something in a contract.

Key Takeaways

  • Assignment of contract is the ability to transfer rights, property, or obligations to another.
  • Assignment of contract is a clause often found in business contracts.
  • A party may assign a contract to another party if the contract permits it and no law forbids it.

Legal Information Institute. " Assignment ." Accessed Jan. 2, 2021.

Legal Information Institute. " Specific Performance ." Accessed Jan. 2, 2021.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. " 301 Ownership/Assignability of Patents and Applications [R-10.2019] ." Accessed Jan. 2, 2021.

Licensing International. " What is Licensing ." Accessed Jan. 2, 2021.

what is an assignment of construction contract

Pitfalls of Contractor’s Consents

by Michael Lilly

October 23, 2020

You’ve negotiated your Agreement with the Owner and you’ve started to mobilize.  The Owner is still trying to close on its construction financing – but they are “close.”  You receive a call from the Owner’s representative, the representative says “closing is scheduled for tomorrow, the lender just needs you to sign a document before they will fund, it’s no big deal, I’ll send it over to you right now – just sign it and get it to me as soon as possible.”  Finally!  The project is about to start!  You receive the document, a Contractor’s Consent, and you are inclined to just sign it and get to work. Should you?

What Is It Really?

In virtually every construction loan transaction with a commercial lender, the lender will require the borrower (owner) to assign the borrower’s interest in its construction contract with the general contractor, to the lender as additional collateral. This document is generally referred to simply as an Assignment of Construction Contract or Collateral Assignment of Construction Contract.  In connection with the borrower’s delivery of the Assignment of the Construction Contract, the lender will generally require that the borrower’s general contractor consent in writing to such assignment.  Thus, a Contractor’s Consent is first and foremost the general contractor’s written consent to the borrower’s collateral assignment of the construction contract.  However, lenders will ordinarily include multiple additional terms and concepts that the contractor should consider.

THE MAJOR ISSUES

If the Lender elects to assume the Construction Contract, when will it happen?

In the event of a borrower default under the loan documents, nearly every Contractor’s Consent sets forth a procedure allowing for the lender to either (i) terminate the project, or (ii) to assume the construction contract and take-over the project. Often, however, the consent will not require that the lender makes its choice, to either terminate or assume the construction contract, within a specific period of time.  Thus, should the lender declare the borrower in default, what is the general contractor to do?  The short answer is – the general contractor must stop work and wait on the lender to make a decision.  This will, in the very least, result in additional de-mobilization costs and potentially significant re-mobilization costs (should the lender elect to proceed with the contract).

What can the general contractor do?  Negotiate a specific time frame for the lender to make its election to terminate or assume the construction contract.

Lender consent to Change Orders.

Often Contractor’s Consents will include a specific obligation that the borrower and contractor obtain the Lender’s prior consent to any Change Orders.  The result – an already time consuming and often difficult change order process become infinitely more time consuming and difficult, as lenders are typically reluctant to agree to changes in cost and scope for a project.

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Why assignment provisions in construction contracts can make all the difference to lenders

Procurement Policy Note 04/23: Procuring Steel in Government Contracts

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Sarah Wales-Canning

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Assignment provisions are often found in construction contracts, including collateral warranties, and they are used to transfer the benefit of a construction contract from one party to another. When providing development and real estate finance, there are a number of issues lenders need to consider in relation to assignment of construction documents as part of their overall security package.

Benefits for a lender

If the benefit of a construction contract is assigned from a borrower to a lender, the obligations of the contractor or consultant are then owed to the lender and the lender can demand performance of the contractor's or consultant's obligations under those contracts. Assignment also allows the lender to enforce the terms of the relevant contract or pursue a claim against the contractor or consultant where they are in breach.

The lender may have the benefit of collateral warranties which creates a contractual link between the lender and the contractor or consultants. However, these will not usually enable the lender to enforce the terms of the underlying contract unless the lender formally "steps-in" and uses express rights and meets express conditions in the collateral warranties.

Assignment therefore makes enforcement more streamlined.

Legal assignment versus equitable assignment

The law recognises two different types of assignment – legal or equitable.

A legal assignment must be in writing, absolute and notice must be given to the other parties. An equitable assignment is not subject to the same requirements.

The main difference between the two types of assignment is that an equitable assignee (who benefits from the assignment) must join the assignor (the person who assigns their right) in any action against the contractor or consultant. A legal assignee can bring an action themselves.

In practice, equitable assignment is often preferred by lenders as it can be achieved in the debenture or facility agreement without the need for a separate deed of assignment and notices to the contractor or consultant. It also allows the borrower to retain the benefit of the construction documents so that they can continue to have the right to enforce the terms.

Charge versus security

Where a lender takes a charge over a contract, this gives the lender a right over the benefit of the contract instead of assigning it the benefit of the contract.

If the benefit of a contract is assigned by way of security, the benefit is transferred to the lender. On redemption of the loan, the lender will need to re-assign the benefit of the contract back to the borrower. This can be problematic where there is a limit on the number of permitted assignments and no carve out for assignment in this manner.

Further considerations

Where a contract contains an express assignment provision, common issues include:

  • Assignment being restricted to absolute legal assignment, which means that equitable assignments are not permitted, including granting a charge
  • Limits on the number of permitted assignments, which could have been wholly or partly used up already
  • No carve out for assignments by way of security and reassignment on redemption which means that both assignments will count towards the permitted number, and will often use them up entirely.

It's important for lenders to understand what assignment options are available for construction contracts and assess whether they allow for sufficient security.

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What is Assignment in Construction Contracts?

A legal assignment is transferring an interest from one party, called the assignor, to another, the assignee. An assignment entitles the assignee to the performance of a particular contractual obligation conferring a benefit. It’s not usually possible to assign burdens, obligations or debts under a construction contract.

An example of the assignment of a benefit in a construction contract is transferring a collateral warranty to the tenant or purchaser of a building either during construction or after completion. 

An employer can assign their right to have the building constructed and the subsequent right to sue the contractor if the works are not up to standard or delayed. Sometimes, financial investors want the developer to assign contractual rights as security for their investment.

To be legally valid, an assignment must satisfy the requirements of Section 136 of the Law of Property Act 1925. An assignment that doesn’t comply can still be effective as an equitable assignment, but it is harder to prove.

• Parties to construction contracts can only assign benefits and not obligations

• An assignment should comply with the provisions of Section 136 of the Law of Property Act 1925

• A construction contract may contain restrictions on the right to assign, so only permitting the assignment of certain rights or a limit on the number of assignments

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What is a Notice of Assignment and How Does it Protect the Construction Business?

by CapitalPlus | Nov 8, 2023 | Blog

The Notice of Assignment, or NOA, is commonly used in business, including the construction industry. Let’s learn about the definition and how it protects us, construction businesses.

A Notice of Assignment is used when rights or obligations under a contract are transferred from one party to another. For example, if a company assigns its rights to payment under a construction contract to a third party like a factoring company , a Notice of Assignment would be sent to the party owing the payment to inform them of the new payee. The NOA helps to ensure that a construction company’s actions are transparent and that it has taken the necessary steps to inform and coordinate with all parties who may be impacted by its activities.

How does the “Notice of Assignment” protect construction trades?

Being a formal document, the Notice of Assignment states that a contract or obligation has been transferred from one party (the assignor) to another (the assignee). Here’s how it protects a construction company:

  • Clarity of Responsibility : An NOA clearly delineates the transfer of rights or obligations under a contract, such as the right to receive payment or the duty to perform work, ensuring that all parties know who is now responsible.
  • Proof of Notification : In the event of any disputes arising regarding the assignment, the NOA serves as legal proof that all parties were properly informed. This can be crucial in the event there is litigation or arbitration.
  • Protection of Payment Rights : For a construction company that has sold or assigned its right to receive payment for work performed, the NOA informs the client or project owner of the Factoring company to which payments should be made, thus protecting the company’s financial interests.
  • Avoidance of Duplication : The NOA prevents the original client from making payments to the assignor when the right to receive payment has been assigned to another entity, thus avoiding duplicate payments or financial confusion.
  • Legal Requirement : In some jurisdictions, a NOA is a legal requirement to enforce the assignment against third parties. Without it, the assignee may not be able to legally claim their rights under the contract.
  • Maintaining Business Relationships : By formally notifying clients of the assignment, the NOA provides the construction company transparency and trust in its business relationships, which is essential for ongoing and future business.

In summary, the Notice of Assignment ensures that all parties are informed about where contractual rights and obligations lie after an assignment has taken place.

If you have questions about NOAs or any other aspect of the invoice factoring process , feel free to reach out. We are glad to help.

Request a call from CapitalPlus to discuss your construction business's financial options.

Collateral Assignment of Contracts, Licenses, Permits, and Plans (Construction Loan) | Practical Law

what is an assignment of construction contract

Collateral Assignment of Contracts, Licenses, Permits, and Plans (Construction Loan)

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Contract Assignment Agreement

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Contract Assignment Agreement

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This Contract Assignment Agreement document is used to transfer rights and responsibilities under an original contract from one Party, known as the Assignor, to another, known as the Assignee. The Assignor who was a Party to the original contract can use this document to assign their rights under the original contract to the Assignee, as well as delegating their duties under the original contract to that Assignee. For example, a nanny who as contracted with a family to watch their children but is no longer able to due to a move could assign their rights and responsibilities under the original service contract to a new childcare provider.

How to use this document

Prior to using this document, the original contract is consulted to be sure that an assignment is not prohibited and that any necessary permissions from the other Party to the original contract, known as the Obligor, have been obtained. Once this has been done, the document can be used. The Agreement contains important information such as the identities of all parties to the Agreement, the expiration date (if any) of the original contract, whether the original contract requires the Obligor's consent before assigning rights and, if so, the form of consent that the Assignor obtained and when, and which state's laws will govern the interpretation of the Agreement.

If the Agreement involves the transfer of land from one Party to another , the document will include information about where the property is located, as well as space for the document to be recorded in the county's official records, and a notary page customized for the land's location so that the document can be notarized.

Once the document has been completed, it is signed, dated, and copies are given to all concerned parties , including the Assignor, the Assignee, and the Obligor. If the Agreement concerns the transfer of land, the Agreement is then notarized and taken to be recorded so that there is an official record that the property was transferred.

Applicable law

The assignment of contracts that involve the provision of services is governed by common law in the " Second Restatement of Contracts " (the "Restatement"). The Restatement is a non-binding authority in all of U.S common law in the area of contracts and commercial transactions. Though the Restatement is non-binding, it is frequently cited by courts in explaining their reasoning in interpreting contractual disputes.

The assignment of contracts for sale of goods is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (the "UCC") in § 2-209 Modification, Rescission and Waiver .

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Assignment Agreement, Assignment of Contract Agreement, Contract Assignment, Assignment of Contract Contract, Contract Transfer Agreement

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what is an assignment of construction contract

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Assignment of construction documents

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What Contractors Need to Know About Working with Construction Lenders

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Pay Applications Lien Waivers Joint Checks Notice of Completion

Contractor talking with a lender on a job site

Most construction projects are expensive. While a home remodel project might be as little as a few thousand dollars, a commercial project can stretch into the billions of dollars. Unless the project owner has the cash on hand, they’ll need to borrow money to make them happen. While often the key to making the owners’ dreams come true, lenders can cause headaches for contractors. Lenders bring loan draws, lien waivers, and extra scrutiny to a project. But when contractors and suppliers understand how the process works, and follow the lender’s requirements, they can finish the work and collect their payment without a hassle. 

Table of Contents

Who are construction lenders? 

Construction lenders are usually banks or credit unions that loan money to help owners with their new construction or remodel projects. There are specialized lenders for residential projects, new homes, commercial projects, medical and dental projects, and pretty much every other type of construction project that exists. Some of them are household names, like Wells Fargo and Bank of America . Others might be little known outside of the commercial construction world, but they make enormous investments in building projects. 

They’re not the enemy: Lenders want contractors to get paid

Lenders always control the purse strings, and they want to make sure that they are getting the best return on their money. As a result, they do everything they can to avoid a mechanics lien or foreclosure on their property. They have a clear interest in making sure that everyone on the project gets paid.

For a contractor, working on a project that has a lender involved is more complicated than when the project owner provides the cash and controls the payments. Lenders are often quite hands-on during the project, sometimes even sending inspectors out to see the progress of the work.

Lenders aren’t all bad though, and a few of them are even a joy to work with – if you know what to expect, and follow their rules. 

Lender requirements for GCs and subs

Contractors on a financed project should expect to submit a lot of paperwork throughout the job. You will need to turn in documents during all phases of the project: Before it starts, while construction is happening, and after the project is complete. Payments will be directly tied to this paperwork, so it’s important to set aside time to complete it and keep it organized.

Before the construction project

In order to choose a General Contractor for the project, the lender will usually ask for a resume of past work. Some will have a specific form they want you to fill out, while others will be less formal. Basically, the lender wants to make sure that the GC will complete the project and do a good job. 

The lender may also request financial records to ensure that the contractor they hire is financially stable. In some cases, lenders may require a payment bond on the project. Provide all the documents they request the first time, as it saves time in closing the loan, which means the project can get started sooner and you can get paid quicker.

Lenders have the right to approve subcontractors as well. Most banks will ask for a list of subcontractors before the project starts and will let the GC or the owner know if they have an issue with any of them. The Lender may require the GC to change subs if they uncover past problems, they are unlicensed, or uninsured. 

Assignment of Contract

Before closing on the loan, the construction lender will ask the GC and the owner to sign a document that entitles the bank to act as the owner during the project. The lender takes on all the rights of the owner, as spelled out in the contract. This document also gives the bank the right to take over the contract if the owner defaults. The lender can then force the contractor to finish the project if it thinks it is in its best interest to do so. Read this document carefully so you know your rights and responsibilities if this happens.

During the construction project

Pay apps and loan draws.

If required by the contract, GCs and subcontractors will need to fill out a pay app , short for “payment application.” It is basically what it sounds like: An application to get paid. And similar to filling out a job application, you’ll need to include evidence that shows why you deserve payment. The pay app will typically ask for:

  • A Schedule of Values or Continuation Sheet that lists the work you completed and/or materials delivered during the pay period
  • Evidence that supports the list. This may include photographs , statements, daily reports , material delivery confirmations or invoices , etc.
  • Lien waivers 
  • Certified payroll records (if a prevailing wage job)

Submitting loan draws , or draw requests, can add a layer of difficulty when working with a lender. Contractors should read the lender’s draw requirements and procedures carefully, and collect any forms the lender requires. Read the instructions carefully and don’t try to cut corners. Trying to save time may only delay your payment. Subcontractors should ask the GC for any forms they may need to complete ahead of time. Most lenders will send an inspector out to verify the work has been done.

Joint checks

Some lenders will require the use of joint checks . A joint check is made out to two (or more) parties, and requires both of their signatures. They are used to ensure that lower tier subs and suppliers get paid. Joint checks require the hiring party (often the GC) to endorse them before the check can go to the sub for cashing. They are effective, but can be a n accounting challenge for a GC . They can require that you set up fake clearing accounts in your accounting software, so you can deposit and write checks out of the fake account for that job. 

Lien waivers

Construction lenders will often require contractors to sign lien waivers each month; every time they get paid. While there are 4 different types of lien waivers , they basically ensure that the GC or hiring party is paying their subcontractors and suppliers. Lenders want to protect their investment, and do not want a lien to tarnish the project. Contractors should use the form the lender supplies or a form tailored to your state. Follow any additional bank requirements and laws regarding notarizing, etc. 

If you are a sub, sign the lien waivers and return them to the GC as soon as possible. Often the next draw can’t be turned in until all the waivers from the last one are gathered. One sub can hold up everyone else’s payment, and you don’t want to be that person .

After the Project

All parties on a project should keep a record of important documents and dates on the project, even after it’s finished. This practice will help protect your right to file a mechanics lien, in the event that you weren’t paid what you were owed. In most states, the deadline to file a lien is calculated from the “date of last furnishing,” or the last day you were on the job. But in some cases, the deadline can be shortened once the GC or prime contractor files a Notice of Completion.

Notice of Completion

The GC or prime contractor will generally need to file a Notice of Completion once the project is finished. Even in states where this is not required by law, the lender may require it. This is a formal notice that construction is complete. The Notice of Completion is filed in the county recorder’s office as a public record. 

Mechanics Lien (if necessary)

If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid, they generally have the right to file a mechanics lien . Before filing a lien, it’s a good idea to talk to the parties at the top of the payment chain. The lender may not be aware that you haven’t been paid; they can put pressure on the GC to resolve any payment problems. 

If talking to the lender doesn’t help, filing a lien may be the best course of action. Some states require that you file a Notice of Intent to Lien (NOI) before filing the lien itself. Even on its own, an NOI can be a very effective tool to get paid. 

Managing cash flow when a lender’s involved

Because of the layers of approval and the document requirements, getting paid on a financed project can take longer than on other projects. This is especially true when it comes to the first draw on the project. GCs may want to submit this draw early, so if it drags out a bit it won’t be so noticeable. 

If the GC can’t submit early, you may want to get a backup plan in place so you can pay everyone in a timely manner. Contractors often use business savings or a credit line, credit cards, or a short-term loan to make up for a short-term gap in payment.

Remember, construction lenders aren’t the enemy. After all, everyone on a project shares the same goal: To finish the job successfully, and to get paid what they deserve.

Read more : Contractor Loans & Financing Options: The Pros & Cons for Construction Businesses

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Hello, I completed a job for a client who used a 203k loan through Loan Depot. I was paid half upfront. After we finished bathroom the client signed a certificate of completion. As a condition of getting the rest of my money I had to sign a lien...

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  2. What Is an Assignment of Contract?

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  4. Assignment, novation and construction contracts

    Both assignment and novation are forms of transferring an interest under a contract from one party to another. However, they are very different and in their effect. An assignment transfers the benefit of a contract from one party to another, but only the benefit, not the burden. In contrast, a novation will transfer both the benefit and the ...

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    Assignment in construction contracts. As noted above only the benefits of a contract can be assigned - not the burden. In the context of a building contract: the employer may assign its right to have the works constructed, and its right to sue the contractor in the event that the works are defective - but not its obligation to pay for the ...

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    In a contract assignment, one of the two parties to a contract may transfer their right to the other's performance to a third party. This is known as "contract assignment.". Generally, all rights under a contract may be assigned. A provision in the contract that states the contract may not be assigned usually refers to the delegation of ...

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    Even if the contract allows assignment or doesn't say anything about it, an assignment must meet certain requirements to be enforced by a court in the event of a dispute. For business contracts, the assignment cannot materially alter the contract or what the other party expects from it. In other words, you can't assign a contract if it ...

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    Assignment v novation. Both assignment and novation are forms of transferring an interest under a contract from one party to another. However, they are very different and in their effect. An ...

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    The first stop on our checklist is to look for an express prohibition against assignment in the contract. This is a clause that outright states assignments are not allowed without the other party's consent. If such language exists and you proceed with an assignment, you could be breaching the contract.

  12. What Is an Assignment of Contract?

    Assignment of contract allows one person to assign, or transfer, their rights, obligations, or property to another. An assignment of contract clause is often included in contracts to give either party the opportunity to transfer their part of the contract to someone else in the future. Many assignment clauses require that both parties agree to ...

  13. Pitfalls of Contractor's Consents

    This document is generally referred to simply as an Assignment of Construction Contract or Collateral Assignment of Construction Contract. In connection with the borrower's delivery of the Assignment of the Construction Contract, the lender will generally require that the borrower's general contractor consent in writing to such assignment.

  14. Assignment of Construction Contract Definition

    Examples of Assignment of Construction Contract in a sentence. If any such provision of this Limited Assignment of Construction Contract is invalid, unenforceable or illegal, the Parties shall, acting in good faith, promptly negotiate new provisions to eliminate such invalidity, unenforceability or illegality and to restore this Limited Assignment of Construction Contract as near as possible ...

  15. Why assignment provisions in construction contracts can make all the

    Assignment provisions are often found in construction contracts, including collateral warranties, and they are used to transfer the benefit of a construction contract from one party to another. When providing development and real estate finance, there are a number of issues lenders need to consider in relation to assignment of construction ...

  16. What is Assignment in Construction Contracts?

    An assignment entitles the assignee to the performance of a particular contractual obligation conferring a benefit. It's not usually possible to assign burdens, obligations or debts under a construction contract. An example of the assignment of a benefit in a construction contract is transferring a collateral warranty to the tenant or ...

  17. What is a Notice of Assignment and How Does it Protect the Construction

    A Notice of Assignment is used when rights or obligations under a contract are transferred from one party to another. For example, if a company assigns its rights to payment under a construction contract to a third party like a factoring company , a Notice of Assignment would be sent to the party owing the payment to inform them of the new payee.

  18. Collateral Assignment of Contracts, Licenses, Permits, and Plans

    A collateral assignment of project documents for a construction loan. This Standard Document assigns to the construction lender as additional security the borrower's interest in construction contracts, including the architect's agreement and general contract, plans and specifications, permits, licenses, guaranties, warranties, entitlements, and other development related documents.

  19. Contract Assignment Agreement

    This Contract Assignment Agreement document is used to transfer rights and responsibilities under an original contract from one Party, known as the Assignor, to another, known as the Assignee. The Assignor who was a Party to the original contract can use this document to assign their rights under the original contract to the Assignee, as well as delegating their duties under the original ...

  20. Assignment of construction documents

    by Practical Law Construction. A note on practical issues affecting the assignment of construction documents, such as the assignment of a suite of collateral warranties to a subsequent tenant or the assignment of a suite of professional appointments and a building contract to a purchaser. Free Practical Law trial.

  21. Assignment Form

    Lease Assignment Agreement: a document used to transfer a tenant's interest in a property to a new individual who will assume the obligations and rights of the original lease. Termination Agreement: an agreement used to cancel/discontinue an existing contract. Trademark Assignment: a form that transfers ownership of a trademark from the owner ...

  22. What Contractors Need to Know About Working with Construction Lenders

    Assignment of Contract Before closing on the loan, the construction lender will ask the GC and the owner to sign a document that entitles the bank to act as the owner during the project. The lender takes on all the rights of the owner, as spelled out in the contract.

  23. Assignment of Construction Contract Sample Clauses

    Assignment of Construction Contract. The Borrower shall have provided to the Agent an "Assignment of Construction Contract with Joinder and Consent of General Contractor ," in form mutually acceptable to the Borrower and the Agent, signed by the Borrower and acknowledged by the Contractor. Sample 1 Sample 2. Assignment of Construction Contract.

  24. How to add ACC licenses automatically to newly added users?

    There is the option to automatically assign members Build memberships. But it works only for Build at the time being. To do that, the option needs to be toggled on from the Account Admin module. See picture: Options outside ACC: In the Autodesk Account, the Contract Administrator has two options for automating license assignment. 1. Go to User ...