What Contractors Should Know About Deadlines for Texas Mechanics Liens
Call 800-929-1725 for an appointment. The deadlines for filing mechanics liens in Texas are a complex issue. If you’re a Texas construction contractor, you should talk to an attorney about your filing deadlines if you’re unsure of the deadlines that apply to you. Attorney Ray Kerlick outlines the factors that determine Texas mechanics liens deadlines in this video.
This is a summary of Ray Kerlick’s video about Texas mechanics liens.
– Hi, my name is Ray Kerlick. I’m a partner with the law firm of Wadler, Perches, Hundl and Kerlick in Wharton, Texas. Today I’d like to talk to construction contractors a little bit about Texas mechanic’s liens. As many of you may know, the ultimate way to enforce claims for payment that you may have against a particular project is to file a mechanic’s lien. It’s a daunting process and a very technical process, but fortunately Texas has very good and strong provisions to assist construction contractors in this setting. However, deadlines are vitally important.
What you need to know is that Texas rules provide very specific guidelines on how quickly you must file a mechanic’s lien and specifically the Notice of Mechanic’s Lien. This has to do with whether or not your job is a residential job versus a commercial job versus a government job. In each of those settings, the provisions are slightly different. To whom notice must be given, depends on whether you’re working directly for the owner, directly for a general contractor or for someone other than the general contractor. In each of those settings the notice required is slightly different.
Again, rather than trying to go through those rules on a quick basis, I just want to let you understand that each of them is slightly different. But, the main thing you need to know is, within 45 days of not being paid on a job, you should have your ears up. You should be aware of the situation and you should be aware of the project itself. Has worked stalled? Is everyone complaining about not being paid? Is there a serious problem out at the job site that’s resulting in a lack or slow payment by the owner?
In any of these situations, you should immediately consult with an attorney as quickly as possible to preserve the rights that you may have, many of which go away very quickly. In settings in which you are dealing with someone other than the owner or the general contractor itself, and you are essentially a sub of a sub, you may have as few as 45 days to actually put out the notice to get a lien filed.
If you fail to meet that timely notice, you may be in a situation where you have waived the right to lien the property. And without being able to lien the property, your rights, certainly to try and hold up the project up in some way to make sure you get paid, have essentially vanished. So, keep those time frames in mind.
On residential projects you should certainly be aware that the identity of the owners and copies of the actual original contract for the residence itself, the construction contract, should be something that you see a copy of. And certainly before you leave the job you ought to be asking the contractor or the owner about making sure that you’ve got a copy of that so you can identify the property.
Likewise, even when you’ve had a big agricultural or commercial job, you need to identify documents that will allow you to identify exactly what the tract is that you’re working on, with a specific legal description, if possible lot, block and so on, but also to identify the owner as well as potential lienholders such as a bank, mortgage company or so on that you’ll need to identify.
Finally, on government jobs, recognize that liens typically aren’t available and what that requires instead is a bond. And so, in those situations the notice will make sure to go to the bond company and so you’ll need bonding information before you leave the job.
Most larger types of projects, you will be asked to issue a Release of Lien to obtain your final payment. There’s nothing wrong with this but make sure you’ve gotten final payment and make sure you don’t sign anything until all issues have been resolved.
If you have any questions, recognize that time is of the essence. We look forward to talking about any questions you may have and certainly assisting you in getting liens finalized, notarized and recorded in the proper place. Thanks for your time.
Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick attorneys have many years of experience helping construction contractors with mechanics lien filing deadline issues in Texas and with collections in general. If you’re unsure of the filing deadlines that apply to your mechanics lien, you should contact a qualified attorney. Call 800-929-1725 for an appointment with our attorneys in Wharton, El Campo or Richmond, Texas.