Although Texas construction laws give construction industry workers a powerful tool for recovering past due payments for commercial construction jobs, the laws are complicated. We get many questions about the process – and most surround the topic of construction lien affidavits. Specifically – how do you file a construction lien AND what is the deadline to file?

The construction lien (also known as a mechanic’s lien) is the only legal tool contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and any other person who provides services or labor to a construction project, have to collect past due payment on commercial construction projects. However, it’s a complicated process riddled with strict deadlines and filing criteria. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we can help you understand what you need to know to exercise your lien rights confidently.

When researching how to file a construction lien in Texas, you’ll quickly find that the deadline schedule is pretty complicated. Yes, there are also statutory paperwork requirements, filing restrictions, and other hurdles to the process – but none of those things matter if you miss a filing deadline. The laws provide zero flexibility when it comes to deadlines.

Also, you can only file a construction lien if you have already met the invoicing and pre-lien notice requirements. And guess what? The notice requirements have deadlines too! Here’s how the process works in Texas.

Step 1: Invoice for the project

To qualify for a lien claim, the subcontractor or supplier must first invoice for their work before the 15th day of the second month after performing the work.

Step 2: Send a Pre-Lien Notice Letter

If you invoiced for your work and still haven’t received payment, the next step is to send a pre-lien notice letter. Subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, materials suppliers, and anyone without a direct contract with the property owner are required to send the pre-lien notice letter before filing a lien affidavit. The deadline for the pre-lien notice letter is one month sooner than the deadline to file a lien affidavit, but you can mail the pre-lien notice letter on the same day you file the lien affidavit, as long as the letter meets the pre-lien notice deadlines. In other words, you can file the construction lien affidavit early, you do not have to wait.

Step 3: File a Lien

If the invoicing and pre-lien notice letter do not result in payment, it’s time to file the mechanic’s lien affidavit. The deadline to file a construction lien depends on two things: the month you furnished labor or materials for the project and where you fall in the project hierarchy.

In Texas, there are two categories: Tier 1 Subs (a subcontractor who has a direct contract with the General Contractor) and Tier 2 Subs (a sub-subcontractor who has a direct contract with another Subcontractor). Here is a complete list of deadlines for invoicing, pre-lien notice letters, and lien affidavits. Contractors who work directly for the project owner are not required to send a pre-lien notice letter before filing a lien affidavit. Having a direct agreement with the owner falls under the protection of the constitution (constitutional lien). 

How do you file a construction lien? Make deadlines a PRIORITY

Although many construction community members ask – how do you file a construction lien? – we think the more important question is WHEN. That’s why we created our simple, easy-to-use online lien filing service. We’ve taken all the questions and headaches out of the process by providing everything you need and need to know at TexasEasyLien.com. Get started protecting your payment right today. Visit www.texaseasylien.com.