The widespread shutdowns last spring severely affected businesses across the nation. At that time, construction projects in Texas were considered essential, so contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers continued to work – but perhaps were not paid given the economic downturn that ensued.
So how has the coronavirus impacted contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers ability to protect their payment rights? Although the process itself has remained unchanged, the logistics of the process have felt the coronavirus impact to some degree.
Pre-lien notices during COVID-19
The first step in the Texas mechanic’s lien process is the pre-lien notice. Subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and materials suppliers are required to mail a pre-lien notice to the general contractor and property owner. Although the pre-lien notice is typically sent before the filing of a mechanic’s lien affidavit, they can be sent simultaneously at the same time. Due to the severe uptick in online ordering and deliveries since the pandemic began, the USPS has been severely stressed – thus, covid-19 may interfere with the delivery timing of your pre-lien notices. Therefore, it is good practice to send the pre-lien notice letter several days earlier than normal to ensure it’s not late.
Filing a mechanic’s lien during COVID-19
If a contractor, subcontractor, or materials supplier has successfully mailed their pre-lien notice letters to the correct recipients, and payment still has not been made, then the next step is to execute a mechanic’s lien affidavit against the property in question. Fortunately, Texas allows e-filing of mechanic’s lien affidavits which will help you if the property records office is closed to the public due to COVID-19.
Like the pre-lien notice letters, we recommend you schedule your mechanic’s lien filing deadlines early by a few days. In other words, we do not recommend filing your mechanic’s lien on the last day it is due, as there is a chance it may not be processed on the same day – which may make it late and render your lien affidavit invalid.
Notarizing lien documents during COVID-19
The online notary business exploded as an effect of coronavirus. Fortunately, it’s available for the lien documents requiring the service, such as the mechanic’s lien affidavit, sworn statement of account (document attached to a bond claim), and lien releases. Texas Easy Lien offers online notarization and e-fling, so preparing and filing lien paperwork from your home or office is easy, fast, and affordable.
Coronavirus impact – key takeaway
Businesses nationwide have had to change practices to adapt to the coronavirus’ impact on logistics. With filing a mechanic’s lien, the real impact is on deadlines. Given the importance of following deadline requirements, allowing more time for paperwork processing, delivery, and filing is key to successfully protecting your payment rights. So, we highly recommend adding 3-4 business days to any deadline associated with filing a mechanic’s lien or bond claim while Covid-19 effects are ongoing. Visit us at www.texaseasylien.com to safely execute your Texas lien documents today.