Generally speaking, all subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and suppliers have to send a pre-lien notice letter to the general contractor and the project owner before they can file a lien. Please note that the pre-lien notice letter can also be sent at the same time and on the same day the lien affidavit is filed in the property records.
What is pre-lien notice?
A pre-lien notice is also commonly called a notice of intent to lien or preliminary notice. It alerts the general contractor and property owner that you (a subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, or materials supplier) are not being paid for your work. As a result, you can publicly file a lien against the property to collect payment.
A pre-lien notice must be served to the project and/or property owner and the general contractor to preserve your mechanics lien rights. Also, a pre-lien notice must be served for each month you completed work and did not receive payment. So, if your job spanned several months, you need to give notice for each month that you are owed money. It is a bit complicated, but the Texas Easy Lien program will automatically help you figure it out.
Who can send pre-lien notice?
Everyone, unless you have a direct contract with the project owner. Generally speaking, only the General or Prime Contractor, is exempt from sending a Texas pre-lien notice letter before filing a mechanics lien. Thus, all contractors, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and material suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the project owner are required to send a pre-lien notice letter to qualify for the right to file a mechanics lien to collect payment.
In many cases, merely sending a Texas pre-lien notice letter is enough to prompt the payment you are owed. However, the notice letter must be served within the required deadlines, which we will outline next.
When do I send pre-lien notice letter?
There are strict and varying deadlines for sending a Texas pre-lien notice letter, and the schedule is determined by the date when you completed the work and where you are in the job hierarchy.
The 1st tier subcontractors and materials suppliers, or those that work directly for the general contractor, are required to send a Texas pre-lien notice letter to the general contractor and owner by the 15th day of the third month after the month the work was performed.
The 2nd tier contractors, or those that work for a subcontractor, have one less month, and generally must send a pre-lien notice letter to the general contractor and owner by the 15th day of the second month after the month the work was performed. For more explanation and details on deadlines, you can find a detailed chart dates and deadlines related for lien and bond claims.
Texas requires that you send a separate pre-lien notice for each month you’re not paid, or you will forfeit your right to file a mechanics lien for that month’s work.
You must enforce a mechanic’s lien no later than one year after the last day the lien could have been filed or within one year after the completion, termination, or abandonment of the work under the original contract. Whichever is later. This applies to both residential and commercial projects.
Where can I get pre-lien notice letter?
Despite the complicated guidelines surrounding the Texas pre-lien notice letter, completing the process is easier than ever! At Texas Easy Lien, you will find the pre-lien notice and all other Texas lien filing documents at your fingertips. Our process is fast, easy, and can all happen from your home or office. Visit us today to get started at www.texaseasylien.com.