Many people heard that the Mechanic’s Lien Law changed on January 1, 2022. What are these changes, and do they influence any filing deadlines?
According to CHAPTER 53. MECHANIC’S, CONTRACTOR’S, OR MATERIALMAN’S LIEN, here are the most significant changes:
- The first thing to note is that these changes only apply to contracts signed after the first day of 2022. If you are a subcontractor, you must determine when the original contractor signed the original contract.
- Under the previous law, all notices had to be delivered by certified mail or in person. Now, the law states: by certified mail; or any other form of traceable, private delivery or mailing service that can confirm proof of receipt.
- How long you have to file a lien in Texas for deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, has been extended to the next business day.
- Under the changed law, a licensed professional, including an architect, engineer, designer, and surveyor, doesn’t need to have a direct contractual relationship with the owner to have lien rights. Now, landscapers aren’t required to have a written contract to file a lien claim.
- No change here: An original contractor must file an affidavit claiming a lien for construction projects that are not residential no later than the 15th day of the 4th month after their work was completed, terminated, or abandoned.
- No change here: An original contractor on a residential construction project must file an affidavit claiming lien no later than the 15th day of the 3rd month after their work was completed, terminated, or abandoned.
Changes for Subcontractors
- Formerly, a 2nd-tier subcontractor had to send a legal notice to the original contractor at the two-month mark. Now, both, subcontractors and 2nd-tier subcontractors (or sub-subcontractors) for commercial construction must send the prescribed notice by the 15th day of the third month following each month in which labor or material is furnished or their work was completed, terminated, or abandoned.
- No change for residential construction. A subcontractor or 2nd-tier subcontractor must notify the owner and the general contractor by the 15th day of the second month following each month in which labor or material is furnished or after their work was completed, terminated, or abandoned.
- So now, sub-subcontractors, also known as 2nd-tier subcontractors, don’t have to worry that how long they have to file a lien in Texas is different from subcontractors. All subs have to file a Notice of Claim to the original contractor and the property owner by the 15th day of the third month.
Standardized Notice Forms Are Now Available
- The changed statute now specifies what needs to be in this Notice of Claim for Unpaid Labor Materials that subcontractors need to send.
- Changes to the claim for unpaid retainage now include a Notice of Claim for Unpaid Retainage form that you can find here. If you are not the original contractor, you must send this notice of claim to the owner or reputed owner and the original contractor no later than the 30th day after the date your contract is completed, terminated, or abandoned; or the 30th day after the date the original contract is concluded, terminated, or abandoned. You must send this notice on whichever of these two dates is earlier.
While a few things have been simplified, filing a mechanics lien in Texas is still complicated and time-consuming. However, there is an alternative.
File a Mechanics Lien in Texas the Right Way
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