Mechanic Liens

Your Mechanic Lien Legal Team

Defining a Mechanic’s Lien

If contractors and suppliers don’t get paid on a construction project in Texas, they can file a mechanics lien to secure payment. A mechanics lien is a legal tool that provides the unpaid party with a security interest in the property.

Who is Able to File a Mechanic’s Lien

In Texas, original contractors (GCs), subcontractors, material suppliers, specialty material fabricators, design professionals, and landscapers all have the right to file a mechanics lien if they do not receive payment.

Parties who contracted directly with the owner of the property in Texas can file a constitutional lien. There are no notice or filing requirements for a constitutional lien, but claimants must meet specific requirements.

Mechanic Leins

Prime Contractor Notice Requirements and Enforcement Deadlines

In Texas, parties who contract directly with the property owner are not required to send a preliminary notice to retain lien rights. However, for residential projects on a homestead, a direct contractor must file the contract itself with the county recorder. Additionally, it can help to send notice to a construction lender, if any is involved on the project.

On residential projects, the deadline to file a Texas mechanics lien is the 15th day of the 3rd month after the month the contract was completed, terminated, or abandoned. 

 

On non-residential projects, the lien filing deadline is the 15th day of the 4th month after the month the contract was completed, terminated, or abandoned.

On residential projects in Texas, an action to enforce the lien must be initiated by the later of a) 1 year after the last date on which the lien claimant could file the lien, or b) 1 year after termination, completion, or abandonment of the project.

 

On non-residential projects, an action to enforce the lien must be initiated by the later of either: 1) 2 years after the last date on which the lien claimant could file his lien, or 2) 1 year after termination, completion, or abandonment or the project.

Note: Effective on all original contracts entered into on or after 1/1/22, the enforcement deadline for all Texas liens will be one year from the last date the claimant could file a lien.

Subcontractors, Suppliers, and Others’ Notice Requirements and Enforcement Deadlines

On residential projects, subcontractors and suppliers must send a preliminary notice to the owner and prime contractor by the 15th day of the 2nd month following the month that work was performed and unpaid. (Notice must be sent for each month work was performed and unpaid.) For example, if the unpaid work was performed on any day in January, notice would be due no later than March 15th.

On non-residential projects, first-tier subcontractors and suppliers (those who contract with the prime contractor) must send notice by the 15th day of the 3rd month following each month work was performed and unpaid. For example, if work was performed in January, notice would be due no later than April 15th.

Subcontractors and suppliers who contract with anyone other than the direct contractor on non-residential projects must send a notice by both the 15th day of the 2nd month, and the 15th day of the 3rd month following each month in which work was performed and unpaid.

Note: Effective on all original contracts entered into on or after 1/1/22, the 2nd-month notice on non-residential projects will no longer be required.

On residential projects, the deadline to file a Texas mechanics lien is the 15th day of the 3rd month after the month in which the claimant last provided labor or materials.

On non-residential projects, the lien filing deadline is the 15th day of the 4th month after the month in which they last furnished labor or materials to the project.

On residential projects in Texas, an action to enforce the lien must be initiated by the later of a) 1 year after the last date on which the lien claimant could file the lien, or b) 1 year after termination, completion, or abandonment of the project.

On non-residential projects, an action to enforce the lien must be initiated by the later of either: 1) 2 years after the last date on which the lien claimant could file his lien, or 2) 1 year after termination, completion, or abandonment or the project.

Note: Effective on all original contracts entered into on or after 1/1/22, the enforcement deadline for all Texas liens will be one year from the last date the claimant could file a lien.

 

Challenging Mechanic’s Lien

The lien laws in Texas are complex, and because of those complexities, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and others may sometimes file a mechanic’s lien that is not valid. Obviously, a lien being filed on your home/property can be overwhelming and cause great financial harm to both you and your home/property. The question then become whether you have a basis to challenge and remove the lien.

Some of the reasons a mechanic’s lien may be invalid, and therefore subject to challenge, may include the following:

  • (1) Lien Claimant’s failure to include required statutory language in the notice of intent to file lien;
  • (2) Lien Claimant’s failure to serve or timely serve required preliminary notices;
  • (3) Lien Claimant’s failure to timely serve and/or record their lien affidavit;
  • (4) Lien Claimant’s failure to follow homestead requirements, as set forth in Texas statutes;
  • (5) Lien Claimant’s failure to include all necessary and required information in their lien affidavit; and
  • (6) Lien Claimant’s failure to timely foreclose on their lien.

Assuming that a valid basis exists to challenge the lien, an owner may send the lienor a demand to remove the lien. If the lienor fails and/or refuses to remove the lien, the owner can then file a formal lawsuit to remove the lien. As part of the lawsuit, a summary motion to remove the lien is filed, which, if granted by the Court, would entitle the owner to not only the removal of the lien but also the recovery of their attorneys’ fees and costs to remove the lien. In addition, if it can be shown that the lien claimant knowingly filed an invalid lien with the intent to cause harm, then the Court may award a minimum $10,000.00 in sanctions or actual damages.

(214) 310-1419

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