When to file a lien on a property in Texas: know your rights

Lien and bond laws protect contractors when they don’t get paid. The right time to file a lien on property is when your invoice is past due and not paid, but don’t wait too long.

Property laws in Texas are notoriously complicated, yet you must follow all the rules exactly. Failing to file one form at the proper time can prevent you from filing a successful lien on a property and prevent you from getting the money you deserve.

A lien on a property is a legal claim attached to real property—such as buildings and land. The owner can’t sell or refinance the property without resolving the lien.

Who can place a lien on property in Texas?

The Texas property code defines three major categories of people and companies who may file a lien on a property:

  1. Contractors and subcontractor who furnish labor or materials to a project
  2. Specialty fabricators
  3. Design professionals

There are many deadlines you need to know. It’s crucial that you understand these deadlines vary depending on the work you do on a project.

  1. To file a lien on a property, you must be an eligible contractor, subcontractor, or supplier. To be an eligible contractor, subcontractor, or supplier, you must have furnished labor or materials to the project. There are legal consequences to filing a lien when you don’t have a right.
  2. There are limitations to when you can file a lien. You cannot file a lien after the deadlines have elapsed.
  3. Pre-lien notices must be delivered for every month when payment for goods or services hasn’t been received. Look at our chart to better understand the applicable dates.
  4. The pre-lien notice procedure is confusing. Deadlines depend on the type of project and whether you a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor.  The deadlines are also calculated based on the month you provided the labor or materials, not the invoice date when you billed.
  5. Texas Easy Lien has prepared this chart so you can more easily understand the relevant dates and deadlines.

How do I file a lien?

Many professionals in the construction industry agree—getting paid for the work done can be more challenging than completing the job.

Fortunately, technology provided a solution. Our software allows you to access the forms and accurate information you need, all online.

Texas Easy Lien’s automated processes can walk you through the steps with a series of easy-to-understand questions.

You won’t waste time driving to the county clerk property records office or the Notary Public—it’s all available right here electronically. Plus, we assure you, every document is accurately completed without the substantial expense of hiring an attorney.

It’s an unfortunate fact: sometimes you don’t get paid, and you must take legal action. For help getting started on the process, visit our information page.

Get your mechanic’s lien documents in just 15 minutes