Do you know that your payment rights are protected by the Constitution?
Yes, in Texas, it’s true. The Texas Constitution protects the rights of workers in the construction trades.
How can a construction lien help you get paid?
A construction lien, also called a mechanic’s lien, is a legal claim for unpaid labor, services, supplies, or materials specially fabricated for a particular project.
Once you correctly file this legal document with the County Clerk, selling or financing a property becomes difficult until the debt is paid and you release the lien.
This lien remains for one or two years, depending on whether the project is residential or commercial. You can provide a mechanic’s lien release form if the person pays you. As the lien holder, you could foreclose on the lien; which means file a lawsuit and possibly force the sale of the property to satisfy the debt.
Ready for the good news? Often, non-payment issues are resolved once the property owner receives a notice of lien.
The bad news is that the requirements can be confusing. It’s easy to miss one of the strict filing deadlines, forfeiting your rights.
You can read the exact construction lien law in Article 16, Section 37:
LIENS OF MECHANICS, ARTISANS, AND MATERIAL MEN. Mechanics, artisans, and material men, of every class, shall have a lien upon the buildings and articles made or repaired by them for the value of their labor done thereon, or material furnished therefor; and the Legislature shall provide by law for the speedy and efficient enforcement of said liens.
Or, check out Title 5. Subtitle B., Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code, which explains who is eligible to file and the requirements you need to follow to file a legal Affidavit of Lien.
Here are the steps a person takes to file a construction lien in Texas.
1. Are you eligible to file an Affidavit of Lien?
General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and laborers can typically file a mechanic’s lien when they aren’t paid. Design professionals such as architects, engineers, and surveyors can file these liens too.
2. Collect the information you need to file, including:
- The street address and legal description of the property where the work was done;
- The name and mailing address of the property owner and any contractors above you;
- A copy of any contracts or agreements related to the project; and
- A copy of the surety bond, if there is one.
- A written document specifying payment terms, if there is one.
In addition, collect records of the month the work was done, any payments you received, and missed payments.
If you are a subcontractor, you need a list of the notices you’ve sent and the dates you sent them. Sub-subcontractors also need the name and mailing address of every subcontractor above them on the project.
3. Determine if you are within the deadline to file.
As an original contractor, you must file an affidavit of lien for non-residential construction projects (homesteads) before the 15th day of the 4th month after you complete, end, settle, or abandon your work.
An original contractor on a residential construction project must file an affidavit claiming lien by the 15th day of the 3rd month after you finish your work, terminate, settle, or abandon the job.
Regardless of their level, all subcontractors must send a Notice of Claim to the original contractor and the property owner by the 15th day of the third month after the work was performed. They must also file the lien by the 15th day of the fourth month after the work was performed or within 30 days after overall completion of the project.
4. Subcontractors must send a pre-lien notice either before they file or with their lien affidavit.
5. Prepare the legal documents.
4. Get the lien affidavit notarized.
5. Determine the filing requirements of the specific county where you need to file.
6. File the document with the County Clerk.
7. Deliver copies of the document and get proof the notice was received.
While the legislature simplified a few things in 2022, filing a mechanic’s lien in Texas is still complicated and time-consuming. However, there is an alternative.
File a Construction Lien in Texas the Right Way
With the help of Texas Easy Lien, you will be able to accurately and efficiently complete the lien process just by answering a few questions. You provide the information, review, approve and sign the documents— we take care of the construction lien document preparation. No more scratching your head, asking “What is a construction lien and how can I get one?” Now you know. Yes, it really can be that easy!