Mechanic’s Liens Requirements and Deadlines
Houston Construction Lien Attorney
Construction Liens: Texas Property Code (Chapter 53) outlines the mechanic’s and materialman’s lien statute. The purpose of this statute is to ensure protection for the work performed on a property by contractors in making sure their subcontractors get paid per contracts or in some instances, without contracts in place. The mechanic’s lien can be a useful and powerful tool, but it has strict requirements and deadlines that must be followed. If certain guidelines are not followed, a subcontractor can be denied protection.
There are three categories of parties who are covered by the statute. The statute applies to, among other things any person like construction companies who furnish labor and/or material. 2) any person specially fabricates material, and 3) design professionals for construction or repair in the state of a house, building, or improvement. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.021(a). Contractors and construction companies should understand these rules or rely on an experienced Construction Lawyer that can take the lead in filing timely and accurate lien documents. Below is a summary of the requirements for filing a mechanic’s lien in Texas after a construction job.
- In the state of Texas, the deadline to file a mechanic’s lien affidavit is the fifteenth day of the fourth calendar month following when the “claimant’s indebtedness” occurs. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.052(a).
- The claimant must file the mechanic’s lien affidavit with the county clerk of the county in which the real property where the work is being performed is located. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.052(a).
- The lien affidavit must be signed by the person claiming the lien like a construction contractor or by an authorized person on the claimant’s behalf and must contain the following:
- a sworn statement of the amount of the claim;
- the name and last known address of the owner or assumed owner of property;
- a statement detailing the kind of work done and materials furnished by the claimant or subcontractor and, a statement of each month in which the work was done and materials provided for which payment is requested;
- the name and last known address of the person by whom the claimant was employed or to whom the claimant furnished the materials or labor;
- the name and last known address of the original contractor;
- a description, legally sufficient for identification, of the property sought to be charged with the lien;
- the claimant’s name, mailing address, and, if different, physical address; and
- for a claimant other than an original contractor (i.e. a subcontractor), a statement identifying the date each notice of the claim was sent to the owner and the method by which the notice was sent. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.054(a).
- A copy of the mechanic’s lien affidavit by must be sent by registered or certified mail to the property owner, at the property owner’s last known business or residence address, no later than the fifth day after the filing date of the lien affidavit is filed with the county clerk’s office. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.055(a). If the claimant is a subcontractor, not the original contractor, a copy of the mechanic’s lien affidavit must also be sent to the original contractor at its last known business or residence address, within the same time period, days from filing date with the county clerk. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.055(b).
The date the debt accrues depends on whether the lien claimant is the original contractor or a subcontractor. For original contractors, that date would be the last day of the month in which a notice received stating the contract has been terminated, completed, finally settled or abandoned. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.053(b). For contractors, the debt accrual date would be on the last day of the last month in which the labor was performed, or the materials furnished. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.053(c).
Before a lien affidavit can be filed by a subcontractor, a claimant must also send timely notices of its unpaid claim to the original contractor no later than the fifteenth day of the second month following each month in which all or part of the claimant’s labor was performed or its material delivered. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.056(b). In addition, the subcontractor must also send timely notice of its unpaid claim to both the original contractor and the property owner no later than the fifteenth day of the third month following each month in which all or part of the labor was performed or material delivered. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.056(b). The notices must be sent by registered or certified mail and must be addressed to the owner or assumed owner or the original contractor at his last known business or residence address. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.056(e).
If a claimant has properly filed his claim within the deadlines and requirements, he then has two years (one for a residential construction project) to file suit to foreclose his lien. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.158.
What can a property owner do if a claimant unlawfully files a mechanic’s lien on their property? The property owner has the option of filing a summary motion to remove the invalid or unenforceable lien. And, if the property owner is successful in removing the lien, measures can be sought to recover attorney’s fees from the claimant who filed the invalid or unenforceable lien. TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.156.
Representation in filing Liens and Providing Lien Notice in Construction Cases
One of the reasons contractors find themselves not getting paid down the road is because they waited too long to file their contractor’s lien. By being proactive, the construction business owner may be able to recover more financially. Our law firm assists businesses and construction companies in an effort to help collect what is owed.
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