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What is a Mechanic’s 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”.

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/HospitalOther 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

How to find the legal description of a property?

The county appraisal district websites are free and can provide you with the project owner’s name, mailing address, and legal description of the property. Make sure to search the real property records and not the business/personal property records.To locate a county appraisal district website search online by typing (county name) Texas tax appraisal district website. For example: “Harris County, Texas, tax appraisal district website” or “Harris CAD.” Then select their “Property Search” link and enter owner’s name and/or street address to search for property information. Make sure you have identified the correct legal name of the owner of the property, it could also be a company name. Finding property information in the tax appraisal websites is sometimes difficult and although having the legal description in the lien documents is preferred, if you know the actual street address of the project, you may use that instead and your lien will still be valid. 

What is the deadline to file a lien?

The deadline to file a mechanic’s lien  will depend on the role you have in the project.Below are the three corresponding charts with the required documents and deadlines to send or file lien documents for general (original) contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors working on commercial projects.

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.