FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSGeneral Pre-lien Notice Lien Affidavit Bond Claim Lien Release Notary and Filing
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.
The Texas Easy Lien system provides a simplified version of the lien and bond laws and does not account for numerous 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.
Also known as Pre-Lien Notice, Second Month Notice Letter, Third Month Notice Letter or Notice Letter, a Pre-lien 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.
No. Only subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the project owner are required to send a Pre-lien Notice Letter (for each month that is unpaid) before filing a mechanic’s lien affidavit with the county.
• 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.
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, Pre-lien Notice Letter and Lien Affidavit for private commercial projects for Tier 1 Subcontractors:
FOR CLAIMS RESULTING FROM A CONTRACT SIGNED BEFORE DECEMBER 31ST, 2021
IF THE 15th OF THE MONTH FALLS ON A WEEKEND OR A HOLIDAY, THE LAST DAY TO FILE A VALID LIEN WILL BE THE EARLIEST BUSINESS DAY.
FOR CLAIMS RESULTING FROM A CONTRACT SIGNED AFTER JANUARY 1ST, 2022
IF THE 15th OF THE MONTH FALLS ON A WEEKEND OR A HOLIDAY, THE LAST DAY TO FILE A VALID LIEN WILL EXTEND TO THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY AFTER THAT WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY.
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.
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 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.
Yes. You do not have to wait any number of days to file a lien affidavit after you have sent your required pre-lien 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.