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What You Need to Know
General Contractors / Design Professionals (if your contract is with the owner):
Residential: File your Texas lien by the 15th day of the third month after completion of the overall project.
Commercial: File your Texas lien by the 15th day of the fourth month after completion of the overall project.
Subcontractors/Suppliers (if your contract is with the prime or another sub):
Residential: File your Texas lien by the 15th day of the third month after completion of your portion of the work.
Commercial: File your Texas lien by the 15th day of the fourth month after completion of your portion of the work.
Who? A mechanic’s lien in Texas is allowed for General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, renters of equipment, architects, engineers, and land surveyors.
Where? Clerk of the Court in the county where the work and/or material was furnished.
How Long Does it Stay on Record? A mechanics lien in Texas stays 1 year of completion of the overall project. A lawsuit to foreclose the lien is then required. We have templates for this.
Let Us Help: If you prefer, for the same price, we will instruct you how to fill-out the Texas mechanic’s lien form line by line, answer questions, and give a general idea of the chances for success in enforcing the lien. (800-995-9434); (925) 899-8449 (Ask for Bernie).
Mechanics Lien for Texas Law Summary: For a more detailed discussion of Texas mechanics liens.
HOW TO FILE A TEXAS MECHANIC’S LIEN
Step 1. Fill-out the Lien & Print
Complete the PDF “fillable” mechanic’s lien template. It automatically takes in the info, formats, and prints the lien in final form. Extra Bonus feature: Keep on your desktop: it is re-usable for other non-paying jobs.
Amount of Texas mechanic’s lien: All work/material furnished under the base verbal or written contract plus change orders actually performed, whether signed or not. Finance charges are problematical–allowed only if included in your contract or PO and signed by the other party. If they are not, you are still allowed pre-judgment interest by court order at trial. But do not include specific finance charges or interest in the amount of your lien; instead express it as a possible add-on at trial. Example: “Mechanic’s lien for the principal amount of $10,550, plus finance charges / pre-judgment interest as allowed by law”. This will be awarded later if you are the prevailing party in the Texas lien foreclosure suit.
Do not reduce for freebies or discounts, as they were contingent on being paid. With non-payment, it is no longer legal consideration for a contract modification in which the owner receives a reduced price. Example: In a kitchen remodel, for good customer relations you supplied some extras free: a) a 48 bottle built-in wine cellar and b) painted the adjoining dining room with a coat of base and semi-gloss. Then you never got paid the last installment on the contract. If you supplied labor only, your Texas lien will add in the hourly rate under the contract. If labor and material, use cost-plus or T & M amounts in the lien.
Not a good idea to include: A mechanics lien in Texas should not include these items: court costs and attorneys’ fees (included later if you win at trial for breach of contract); lost profits if terminated from the job; delay or impact damages; lost time or business the interruption; or anything else not constituting actual labor and materials improving the property. However, you can include these items in a cause of action in the lawsuit against the party with whom you have a direct contract (consequential damages for breach of contract).
But be careful. Including unauthorized amounts can invalidate a Texas mechanics lien. Call us if you have any questions.
Step 2. Sign and Notarize
The signature can be by anyone with knowledge of the general services rendered and the costs incurred. It does not have to be someone in the field—in other words, it can be by office personnel. For example, this could be a manager, bookkeeper, controller, job foreman, project manager, owner, co-owner, or partner. All recorded documents must be notarized.
Step 3. Look-up Recorder’s Office
Recording a mechanics lien in Texas is always with the county, not state or city level. See “Where?” above for the name of your State’s recorder. Do a Google search for the county in which the project is located. Example: “[Name] County Clerk Recorder Register of Deeds”. Call to verify the fee and recorder’s address. Give them the city where the work was done–sometimes it is filed in different branch offices. If you don’t know the county, Google the city—even small towns have a Wikipedia listing describing the county. Use the cover letter provided. Send the original and one copy with a stamped self-addressed return envelope.
Include a legal description? Most counties don’t require it, but if they do, we will look it up for free with any purchase.
Step 4. Mail
Regular mail to the recorder. Overnight if close to the filing deadline. If a general contractor, serve the Texas mechanics lien on the owner with a copy certified mail. If a sub or supplier, serve the owner and prime with a copy by certified mail. Fill-out and staple as the last page the Proof of Service (it shows proof of mailing to the owner and/or general contractor).
You are Done!
Call us with any questions about a mechanics lien in Texas—we’ll walk you through it. (800) 995-9434; (925) 899-8449.