FAQ's
  • General
  • Prelien Notices
  • Lien Affidavit
  • Bond Claims
  • Lien Release

general

Do I Have To Pay If I Do Not Qualify?

No. You only have to pay if you want to print the documents you qualified for. How will my documents look like?

What Information Do I Need To Start?

To prepare a prelien notice, a lien affidavit or bond claim document, you will need the general information of the project and contract. Other information will also be necessary and it will depend on what type of document you need and your role in the project. Information required

What is a Public Project?

A “Commercial (Public Works)” and/or “Public works project” is any project where the ultimate owner of the construction project is a governmental agency such as the federal, state or city government. Common examples of public projects are construction projects that include:
• Sewers
• Road & bridge construction
• Government buildings
• Schools
• Universities
• Government property
• Public parks
• Utility work (if publicly owned)
• Bus stations

Will Texas Easy Lien provide documents for any Public Works Project?

Currently, Texas Easy Lien provides help preparing bond claim documents only for State Public Projects. If you are owed in a construction project that is owned by a Federal Entity, we suggest you immediately consult with your lawyer to assert your rights.

What defines a Commercial Project?

A “Commercial Project (Private)” is any construction project that is not a residential project such as an office building, hospital, church, or store. This definition may include the construction of a tract home or multi family or condominium buildings.
• Office Building
• Apartment Complex
• Duplex
• Fourplex
• Store
• Car Dealership
• Church
• Spec Home
• Subdivision Construction
• Coffee Shop
• Medical Complex/Hospital

Other examples of commercial projects include: tract or pre-designed (spec) homes, apartments, condominiums that have not yet been purchased, dormitories, hotels, nunnery, nursing homes, assisted living, and other living space which is not actually owned by the person who is going to occupy it.

What defines a Residential Project?

“Residential Construction Project” is very narrowly defined. It is a project for the construction or repair or remodel of a residence that includes an agreement directly between a builder and an owner. The term ‘owner’ refers to a person or persons who are actually going to own and occupy the property.
Due to the narrow definition of Residential Construction Project, most projects qualify as commercial construction projects rather than residential construction projects.
Generally the following projects actually qualify as residential construction projects:
• Custom home projects,
• Remodeling projects
• Pre-purchased home

Do condominium and pre-designed (spec) homes qualify as Residential Projects?

Condominiums and spec homes are only residential construction projects if they have been purchased by the person who is going to occupy them before the beginning of construction.

In other words, if the owner of a lot hires a contractor to build a house but is not going to live there, then it is considered to be a commercial construction project. But if the owner of the lot will actually live in the house under construction, then it is considered to be a residential construction project.

Can Texas Easy Lien prepare lien documents for Residential projects?

No. Texas Easy Lien system is currently designed to prepare lien and bond documents for commercial and state public projects.

How are the dates and deadlines calculated?

This is an important issue that is often misunderstood. The dates and deadlines related for lien and bond claims are based off the month and year in which the work was actually performed. The invoice date and company accounting methods are irrelevant for these claims.
The important issues are when the work was actually performed and the value of the work for each individual month.
A helpful example? Assume that a contractor completed a three-month painting project that lasted from January to March. The contractor would need to separately identify the value of the work performed for January, February, and March. It would not matter if only one invoice was issued at the end of the project.
The deadlines will vary depending on the type of document and the type of contractor or supplier. General deadlines can be found in the chart below.

Subcontractor(Second Tier) Lien Claim Requirements
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Commercial (Private) Projects
Invoice Prelien Notice Letter Lien Affidavit
January March 15th April 15th May 15th
February April 15th May 15th June 15th
March May 15th June 15th July 15th
April June 15th July 15th August 15th
May July 15th August 15th September 15th
June August 15th September 15th October 15th
July September 15th October 15th November 15th
August October 15th November 15th December 15th
September November 15th December 15th January 15th
October December 15th January 15th February 15th
November January 15th February 15th March 15th
December February 15th March 15th April 15th
Sub-Subcontractor(3rd Tier) Lien Claim Requirements
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Commercial (Private) Projects
Invoice Prelien Notice Letter Lien Affidavit
January March 15th March 15th April 15th
February April 15th April 15th May 15th
March May 15th May 15th June 15th
April June 15th June 15th July 15th
May July 15th July 15th August 15th
June August 15th August 15th September 15th
July September 15th September 15th October 15th
August October 15th October 15th November 15th
September November 15th November 15th December 15th
October December 15th December 15th January 15th
November January 15th January 15th February 15th
December February 15th February 15th March 15th
What is a constitutional Lien?

It is a lien derived from the Texas constitution and it is not subject to the statues of the Texas Property Code. This type of lien allows any contractor or supplier under direct contract with the project owner, eliminates the requirement of sending written prelien notices for an unpaid claim.

Is a constitutional lien available to subcontractors?

No. The Texas constitution only allows a general contractor and those who have a direct contract with the owner to assert a constitutional lien (this lien does not require sending written prelien notices). Subcontractors do not have a direct contract with the owner, therefore those construction liens are called Mechanic’s Lien Affidavit.

Exception: If a subcontractor has a direct contract with the project owner, then it might be able to assert a constitutional lien against the project.

Can I file a lien as a professional designer?

The Texas Property Code states that an architect, engineer, or surveyor who prepare plans or plats must have a written contract with the owner or the owner’s agent, trustee, or receiver in connection with the actual or proposed design, construction, or repair of improvements on real property or the location of the boundaries of real property can file lien on the property.
In other words, any designer who prepares plans or plats under or by virtue of a contract with someone other than the owner is not entitled to file a lien on a property.

I did not qualify for a lien – what now?

Texas lien laws are notoriously complex and have numerous exemptions and variabilities. Texas Easy Lien provides a simplified version of the lien and bond laws and does not account for the multiple exceptions that may exist. If you did not qualify for a lien or bond with Texas Easy Lien, you should immediately consult with your lawyer because you might still qualify to file a lien or assert a bond claim.

prelien-notices

What is a Prelien Notice Letter?

Also known as Pre-Lien Notice, Second Month Notice Letter, Third Month Notice Letter or Notice Letter, a Prelien Notice Letter is a notice that Contractors, Subcontractor and Sub-subcontractors and Suppliers are required to send to the construction project owner and general contractor to establish the right to file a lien in the event of non-payment.
The purpose of these notices are to inform the owner that a subcontractor has performed work or supplied materials that have not been paid. By giving notice, the project owner is allowed to retain payment from the general contractor.
These notices are bound by specific deadlines depending on the type of construction project and type of contractor. However, it is recommended that subcontractors send notice as soon as the amount owed is due so the project owner can withhold the debt amount prior to releasing the payment to the general contractor.

Do I have to send a Prelien Notice Letter if I am the General (Prime) Contractor?

No. Only subcontractors and suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the project owner are required to send Prelien Notice Letters.

What information do I need to send a Prelien Notice Letter?

Project Information: Owner, name of project, common address (or legal property description), county where the project is located.
Subcontractors: Name (or company name) and mailing address of the General (Prime) Contractor.
Sub-subcontractors: It is not required but preferred to have the name and mailing address of all Subcontractors involved in the contract chain.
Work: Invoice dates, description of the unpaid work performed and the amount owed per each individual month.

What are the deadlines to send a Prelien Notice Letter in Texas?

The dates and deadlines related for lien claims are based off the month and year in which the work was actually performed. The invoice date and company accounting methods are irrelevant in these cases.
Additionally, to qualify to file a lien claim on a property for a commercial project, the subcontractor or supplier, is required to send the invoice or request payment by the 15th day of the second month after the month the work was performed.
A subcontractor who has a direct contract with the General Contractor is called a Tier 1 Subcontractor. The chart below shows the deadline to send Invoices, Prelien Notice Letter and Lien Affidavit for private commercial projects for Tier 1 Subcontractors:

Subcontractor (1st tier) Lien Requirements
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Private Projects
Invoice Prelien notice to Owner and Original Contractor File Lien Affidavit
January March 15th April 15th May 15th
February April 15th May 15th June 15th
March May 15th June 15th July 15th
April June 15th July 15th August 15th
May July 15th August 15th September 15th
June August 15th September 15th October 15th
July September 15th October 15th November 15th
August October 15th November 15th December 15th
September November 15th December 15th January 15th
October December 15th January 15th February 15th
November January 15th February 15th March 15th
December February 15th March 15th April 15th

A Sub-subcontractor who has a direct contract with another Subcontractor is called a Tier 2 Subcontractor. The chart below shows the deadline to send Invoices, Prelien Notice Letter and Lien Affidavit for commercial projects for Tier 2 and lower Sub-subcontractors:

Sub-Subcontractor (2nd Tier) Lien Requirements
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Private Projects
Invoice Prelien notice to Owner and Original Contractor File Lien Affidavit
January March 15th March 15th April 15th
February April 15th April 15th May 15th
March May 15th May 15th June 15th
April June 15th June 15th July 15th
May July 15th July 15th August 15th
June August 15th August 15th September 15th
July September 15th September 15th October 15th
August October 15th October 15th November 15th
September November 15th November 15th December 15th
October December 15th December 15th January 15th
November January 15th January 15th February 15th
December February 15th February 15th March 15th

Important Note: Sub-subcontractors (Tier 2) have one month less to send their notices and file their liens.

Should I include my unpaid invoices with my Prelien Notice?

You are not required to send your unpaid invoices with your notice but you must retain them as you may need them in the future.

Do I have to send a Prelien Notice Letter for every month I perform work on a project?

It is recommended to send notice for every month you perform work in the event of non-payment. Since the deadlines in Texas laws are strict and relatively narrow. It is very important for Subcontractors and Sub-subcontractors (1st and 2nd Tier contractors) to send notice of outstanding invoices for each month as soon as possible to protect their right to file a lien claim.
It is a low cost letter that could prevent expensive litigation costs in the future.

If a certain month did not qualify, did I lose my lien rights on the project?

If you missed the deadline to send a notice or file a lien claim for one specific month and you are still owed for more months after that, you may still qualify to file a lien claim. The deadline chart above will assist in guiding you through each month’s deadlines.

Can a Prelien Notice and a Lien Affidavit be sent together?

Yes. You do not have to wait any number of days to file a lien affidavit after you have sent your required prelien notices. Many notices and liens are mailed and filed the same day. If you have concerns you will not get paid until you enforce a lien on the property you can always execute both documents at the same time.

Should a Prelien Notice Letter be notarized and filed with the Property Records?

No. The notices do not need to be notarized and should only be mailed to the Project Owner and the General Contractor through the U.S. Postal Service. However, they must be sent Via Return Receipt Requested (RRR) and the sender should retain the receipt as proof.
Texas Easy Lien also recommends to all sub-subcontractors (2nd Tier contractors) to send a copy of these notices to all subcontractors above involved.

lien-affidavit

What defines a Commercial Project?

A “Commercial Project (Private)” is any construction project that is not a residential project such as an office building, hospital, church, or store. This definition may include the construction of a tract home or multi family or condominium buildings.
• Office Building
• Apartment Complex
• Duplex
• Fourplex
• Store
• Car Dealership
• Church
• Spec Home
• Subdivision Construction
• Coffee Shop
• Medical Complex/Hospital

Other examples of commercial projects include: tract or pre-designed (spec) homes, apartments, condominiums that have not yet been purchased, dormitories, hotels, nunnery, nursing homes, assisted living, and other living space which is not actually owned by the person who is going to occupy it.

Who can file a Construction Lien?

Any person or company who provides labor, materials, equipment and supplies to a project and has not received payment for the work performed is entitled to file a lien on a property.
Note: Landscapers, Landscape materials suppliers and those who furnishes labor or materials for, the demolition of a structure on real property, must have a written contract to file a lien.

What do I need to file a construction lien?

To prepare a lien affidavit, you will need the general information of the project and your contract. Below is a list of most of the information that is most needed to file a lien.

Project Information: Owner, name of project, common address (or legal property description), county where the project is located.
For Subcontractors: Name (or company name) and mailing address of the General (Prime) Contractor.
For Sub-subcontractors: It is not required but preferred to have the name and mailing address of all Subcontractors involved in the contract chain.
Work: Invoice dates, description of the unpaid work performed and the amount owed per each individual month.

What is the legal description of a property and where do I find it?

The legal description is a record of the real property (piece of land) that contains information that clearly identifies it such as property dimensions and boundaries. This description can be written in a few different forms and will typically appear on sales contracts and the property deed.
If it is not printed in the contract or blueprints, it can be found in the “Property Search” section of each individual county.
Instructions on how to find the legal description of a property

What is the deadline to file a lien?

The deadline will depend on the role you have in the project. Below are the deadline charts for subcontractors and sub-subcontractors.

Subcontractor (1st tier) Lien Requirements
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Private Projects
Invoice Prelien notice to Owner and Original Contractor File Lien Affidavit
January March 15th April 15th May 15th
February April 15th May 15th June 15th
March May 15th June 15th July 15th
April June 15th July 15th August 15th
May July 15th August 15th September 15th
June August 15th September 15th October 15th
July September 15th October 15th November 15th
August October 15th November 15th December 15th
September November 15th December 15th January 15th
October December 15th January 15th February 15th
November January 15th February 15th March 15th
December February 15th March 15th April 15th
Sub-Subcontractor (2nd Tier) Lien Requirements
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Private Projects
Invoice Prelien notice to Owner and Original Contractor File Lien Affidavit
January March 15th March 15th April 15th
February April 15th April 15th May 15th
March May 15th May 15th June 15th
April June 15th June 15th July 15th
May July 15th July 15th August 15th
June August 15th August 15th September 15th
July September 15th September 15th October 15th
August October 15th October 15th November 15th
September November 15th November 15th December 15th
October December 15th December 15th January 15th
November January 15th January 15th February 15th
December February 15th February 15th March 15th
Can I file a lien if I don’t have a written contract?

Texas Property Code Chapter 53 states that only those who are filing a lien as landscapers, landscape materials supplier, demolition service providers and professional designers must have a written contract with the owner or the owner’s agent. However, it does not provide an exemption for them to file as contractors or any other subcontractor or supplier.

Can I file a lien if I did not send notices?

Only contractors who have a direct agreement with the project owner can file a lien on a property without sending notice first.

Do I have to file a lien for each month I don’t get paid?

Yes. If you think about it, you could get paid the balance of one month but not others. Then you would be required to release the lien for the amount that was paid but would have lost your rights for the other months.
It is always better to secure your rights in all forms possible by using the tools created to protect you.

Do I have to include the invoices with my lien?

We do not recommend filing a copy of your invoices in the Property Records with your Lien Affidavit. However you must retain copies of them as you may require them in the future.

Where do I file a lien on a project?

Lien Affidavits must be filed in the Property Records Office of the county where the project is located.

I filed a lien and I still didn’t get paid.

If you are unable to settle your dispute, you must seek the assistance of an attorney and file a lawsuit.
Your lien rights will generally expire if a lawsuit to foreclose is not filed within 2 years of the last day you were able to file a lien under the rules, or within 1 year after completion, termination, or abandonment of the work under the original contract under which the lien is claimed, whichever is later.

What should I do after getting paid?

If you get paid after filing a lien on a property, you will very likely be requested to “remove the lien” or sign a lien release. The lien release demonstrates that the debt was fully paid or was settled. The lien release must be filed with the County Property Records where the original lien affidavit was filed and signed by the entity who filed the lien in the first place.
After receiving the written request for a lien release, the contractor is required to either file or send the lien release to the project owner within ten (10) days.

What is a Lien Affidavit?

A Mechanic’s Lien Affidavit is a document that asserts a lien against property for your work when you have not been paid. It is often the best legal tool that contractors, subcontractors and suppliers have to protect themselves.

Depending on where you are located, a Mechanic’s Lien Affidavit can also be referred as “Project Lien”, “Construction Lien” and even “Contractor Lien”.

bond

Will Texas Easy Lien provide documents for any Public Works Project?

Currently, Texas Easy Lien provides help preparing bond claim documents only for State Public Projects. If you are owed in a construction project that is owned by a Federal Entity, we suggest you immediately consult with your lawyer to assert your rights.

What is a public bond?

A bond can be considered as a promise made by a surety (insurance) to fulfill the obligation of payment according to the terms of a contract. Since liens are not allowed on publicly owned property. To protect contractors, the law provides for subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers to file claim against a bond furnished by the general contractor.

What is a construction bond claim?

It is a claim where a subcontractor, sub-subcontractor or supplier is stating that the job in the contract has been completed and payment has not been granted. The surety (bonding company) is now liable for such debt.
Bonds claim must also meet the requirement of sending notice and include a sworn statement of account, both included in your Texas Easy Lien bond claim documents.

Who can file a bond claim?

Any subcontractor or sub-subcontractor who provides work under a written or an oral agreement can file a bond claim to secure payment on unpaid labor or supplied materials on a public project.

Can i create a bond claim for a federal project?

No. Unfortunately Texas Easy Lien currently is designed to create bond claim documents only for projects owned by the State of Texas.

What information do I need to file a bond claim?

To prepare a bond claim, you will need the general information of the project and your contract. Below is a list of some of the necessary information:

Project Information: Owner, name of project, common address (or legal property description);
Contract: Name (or company name) and mailing address of the General (Prime) Contractor, amount, retainage amount and type of agreement;
Bonding company (surety): Name, address and bond number;
Work: Invoices, description of the unpaid work performed and the amount owed per each individual month.

Do I need a written contract to file a bond claim?

No, you do not need to have a written contract to file a bond claim. The content of the claim will change depending if you have a written or an oral agreement and the documents prepared by Texas Easy Lien provide the required information.

What if I don’t have the bond information?

If the general (prime) contractor did not provide the bond information at the time of entering into the contract, you should request it verbally or on writing as soon as possible. Bond claims and liens have very similar deadlines and requirements having all the necessary information at hand is of utmost importance.
If you still don’t get the bond information, in most cases you can get it requesting it to the project owner.
If you have the bonding company information but not the bond number, you can still file a bond claim.

What are the deadlines to file a construction bond claim?

The deadlines are very similar to those of the liens, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers are required to send notice of bond claim with a sworn statement of account no later than the 15th day of the 3rd month after the month when work was performed. These documents must be sent to the Bonding Company and the general (prime) contractor. Below is a chart with the specific deadlines for each month.

Sub-Subcontractors and Suppliers (Contract W/Original Contractor)
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Public Projects
Notice and Sworn Statement of Account to Surety and Original Contractor
January April 15th
February May 15th
March June 15th
April July 15th
May August 15th
June September 15th
July October 15th
August November 15th
September December 15th
October January 15th
November February 15th
December March 15th

Additionally, Sub-subcontractors and suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the prime contractor (second tier and below), must also first send a notice only to the general (prime) contractor no later than the 15th day of the second month after the month when the work was performed. This second month notice can be a copy of your outstanding invoices with a signed cover letter stating the amount(s) remain unpaid. A sworn statement of account is not needed with this notice.

Sub-Subcontractors and Suppliers (Contract W/Subcontractor)
Chart of Time Deadlines
Month of Activity Public Projects
Early Notice to Original Contractor Notice to Surety and Original Contractor
January March 15th April 15th
February April 15th May 15th
March May 15th June 15th
April June 15th July 15th
May July 15th August 15th
June August 15th September 15th
July September 15th October 15th
August October 15th November 15th
September November 15th December 15th
October December 15th January 15th
November January 15th February 15th
December February 15th March 15th
How do I file bond on a construction project?

We have created detailed instructions and a checklist covering what to do, when and where and we have included them with your bond claim documents.

Can I file a lawsuit if a bond claim is not paid?

After the claim has been sent to the General Contractor and Bond Company, you cannot file suit on a bond claim for the first sixty days (60).
If, however, you are unable to settle your dispute within that time, you must file a lawsuit against the bond before the expiration of one (1) year from the filing date of the bond. If you fail to file suit within this time period, your claim against the bond will expire.

lien-release

What is a construction lien release?

In the mechanics lien process, a lien release is a document filed with the Property Records Office which requests to remove a lien previously filed in a property. The lien release states the claim filed has been paid and releases any rights to file a new lien for the amount paid.

When should I file a lien release?

Texas Property Code indicates that a lien release should be filed with the Property Records Office no later than ten (10) days after the written request has been received. In other words, time does not start until the request to release a lien has been placed in writing.

You must also make sure all the checks given to you to satisfy the debt have been cleared before signing the release.

What information do I need to get a lien release?

The County Property Records Office assigns a “Document number” to the lien previously recorded. This number must be included in the document along with the project address (and/or legal property description), the name and company information of the entity that had the lien filed and is now removing.

If you created the lien affidavit with Texas Easy Lien, you will just need your Document number to create your lien release, all other information required has been saved with your project.

Who should file the lien release with the County Property Records Office?

The lien release should be signed and notarized by the same person (contractor) who filed the lien affidavit.
Filing the document itself with the Property Records Office can be done by the interested party (i.e. the project owner) or any other individual.

Is a lien release the same thing as a lien waiver?

No. Depending on where you are the definition of a lien waiver changes. In most places, a lien waiver is a “receipt” that states the debtor (person who owes a balance) has paid in full the debt and that payment was accepted waiving right to place a lien on the property.
A lien waiver is the document used before filing a lien.
A lien release (or lien cancellation) is the document that releases a lien that has already been filed.

Do I have to file a lien release if I am still owed money on the project?

If you have been paid for the month you filed a lien on a property and you received the request to release the lien, then you should sign a lien release. However, if you are still owed for more months and filed a lien(s) for them as well, those liens should remain in place until the balance gets paid.