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Certificates of Completion Part 2

When owners file a certificate of completion with the county recorder’s office, it confirms that you, the contractor, are no longer bound to your contract and acknowledges that you have aptly completed the work outlined in your contract. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of by an unprofessional owner. A certificate of completion is an effective tool for ensuring that you get the money you are owed so you can continue growing your contracting business.

As our Houston contractor attorneys discussed in part one, an owner who fails to file a certificate of completion within 15 days of project completion risks extending the lien deadline for contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. Now, we will explain the recommended protocols for serving copies of the certificate of completion and what risks are involved with this important piece of documentation.

Serving a Copy of the Certificate of Completion

The owner is responsible for supplying all relevant contractors with a copy of the certificate of completion once it has been filed with the county recorder’s office. This copy will be served to all parties by one of the following methods:

  • First class mail
  • Certified mail with a return receipt
  • Registered mail with a return receipt
  • Courier
  • Hand delivery

The parties this copy will be served to include:

  • The general contractor
  • Subcontractors that have provided a copy of a preliminary notice to the owner
  • Sub-subcontractors that have provided a copy of the preliminary notice to the owner
  • Suppliers to all of the subcontractors mentioned above
  • Any claimant that provided a copy of the preliminary notice to the owner

Missing Deadlines

As we briefly mentioned in part one, owners will be penalized if they fail to file a certificate of completion within 15 days of a contractor’s completion of contracted work. The copy of the certificate of completion should be delivered no more than 10 days after the original document has been submitted to the county recorder’s office. By missing these important deadlines, owners give you, the contractor, a larger window for filing a lien if you feel that you will not be compensated appropriately for your work. For owners, these penalties have few legal ramifications outside of affording contractors payment procurement protections; however, contractors should be cognizant of how quickly these deadlines can pass. If you want to get paid, contact a Houston contractor attorney to file a lien.

If you would like to speak with a Houston contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Contractors should have owners file a certificate of completion (or notice of completion) to alert the county when a project is completed. There are many reasons why contractors and owners should file a certificate of completion, but it’s important to understand that this vital piece of documentation helps resolve your contractual obligation and submits in writing that you, the contractor, are no longer responsible for providing labor or materials to the project in question.

In this two-part series, the Houston construction lawyers at Cotney Law will explain how certificates of completion help owners and contractors wrap up construction projects.

Filing a Certificate of Completion

If the owner has hired multiple contractors to complete separate portions of a project, the owner can file a certificate of completion for each contractor since completion of their specific tasks constitutes a completed work. In other words, the owner can file certificates of completion as the project proceeds as long as contractors meet the objectives established in the contract.

Once you have completed all of the work outlined in your contract, the owner has 15 days to file a certificate of completion with the county recorder’s office. If the owner abides by this time frame, the length of time allowed for contractors or suppliers is reduced to as little as 30 days after completion. If the owner misses the 15-day deadline, the certificate of completion will be rejected. In this situation, the contractor is afforded additional time for filing a lien. Subcontractors and suppliers receive an extra 60 days from the date of completion, while general contractors get an additional 90 days to file.

Required Information for a Certificate of Completion

A certificate of completion requires specific information to be processed by the county recorder’s office. This information includes:

  • The name and address of the owner, general contractor, and if available, the lender.
  • A sufficient description of the project site for identification including the street address.
  • The name, address, and relationship of all relevant parties.
  • The name of the general contractor under contract and a general statement of the work to be completed.
  • The name and address of the successor’s transferor, if available.
  • The nature of the interest or estate of the owner.
  • The date of completion.

When the owner is ready to file the certificate of completion, they will take it to the county recorder’s office in the county where the project is located.

Our Houston construction lawyers will continue to discuss certificates of completion in part two.

If you would like to speak with a Houston construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.i>

In this two-part series, the Houston construction lien attorneys at Cotney Law are discussing a few topics related to mechanic’s liens. In the first section, we focused on the issue of lien priority and which construction professionals have a right to file a lien against a property. In this section, we will discuss a few critical elements when filing a notice that will help you verify your lien’s validity. Remember, if you are owed compensation by an owner, a Houston construction lien attorney can assist you.

Filing a Notice

It’s important that construction professionals understand that when they want to perfect a lien, this is a time sensitive situation that requires urgent action. If you are seeking payment from an owner, but they refuse to compensate you for the work you performed, you should contact a Houston construction lien attorney.

Here is some more information on filing a notice:

General Contractor: Although the general contractor isn’t required to file a notice to the owner before perfecting a lien, they must file a lien affidavit with the county they performed the work in. General contractors have up to four months from the time the contract was breached to submit a lien affidavit. This notice must be filed by the 15th day of the month. Although the contractor doesn’t have to provide a notice of a lien to the owner, they must present the owner with a notice that the affidavit was filed with the county.

Subcontractors: For subcontractors and suppliers that entered a contract directly with the general contractor, they have up to three months after the work was completed to file a lien against the property. This notice must be presented by the 15th day of the month. In order to file a lien affidavit, the same requirements are necessary for subcontractors and the general contractor.

Sub-subcontractors: The most time-sensitive lien filing process is for the lower tier of sub-subcontractors and their suppliers. These subcontractors must file a notice by the 15th day of the second month after work was completed. As it is with the general contractor and subcontractor, the sub-subcontractors have up to four months to file a lien affidavit with the county.

If you performed work for an owner and have not been compensated, it is critical that you consult with an attorney that can assist you with perfecting a lien against the property owner. An experienced Houston construction lien attorney can make certain that you file your lien in time and also provide you with all of the necessary information you need to receive payment.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction lien attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier and you have performed work on a property and met the standard that was set forth in your contract, you deserve to be compensated by the owner. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case on construction projects when owners run out of funds or refuse to pay after the project is completed. There is a solution to this problem — a Houston construction attorney can assist you with perfecting a lien against the property.

In this two-part article, the attorneys at Cotney Law will discuss lien laws in Texas. In this section, we will focus on the topic of lien priority. In the second section, we will discuss the various deadlines that construction professionals must meet to perfect a lien after they finish working on a project.

Hierarchy of Perfecting a Lien

If you are a construction professional and interested in perfecting a lien, the first thing you need to know is that there is a hierarchy system in place to successfully complete this process. In other words, there are several tiers to successfully perfecting a lien and depending on your position on the project, the notice requirements can differ greatly.

Here is a basic outline of the chain of command when perfecting a lien:

General Contractor: The general contractor that directly agreed to a contract with the owner is the top-tier professional in the chain of command to perfect a lien. Because the contractor entered a contract with the owner, they do not need to file a notice.

Subcontractors and Suppliers: Directly contracted by the general contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers that provided work on the project are included in the next tier of perfecting a lien. Subcontractors and suppliers must comply with lien notice requirements in order to file a lien.

Other Construction Professionals: Sub-subcontractors that are hired by a subcontractor to perform work on the project are in the lower tier along with the suppliers they hired to provide materials for the project. If these professionals want to perfect a lien, they must provide notices to both the owner and the general contractor.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.