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Homestead Lien Laws in Texas

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Texas has complicated lien laws, and the homestead lien laws are no exception. As a contractor, you don’t have to file monthly notices like subcontractors and material suppliers do. However, if you fail to fulfill your lien prerequisites, the subcontractors, material suppliers, and sub-subcontractors lose their lien rights. Not only will you lose out on payment for the services or materials for the lien you wished to file, but your business relationships will suffer.

In this article, a Houston contractor attorney gives you some insight on how homestead lien laws work in Texas.

Have a Contract

In order to secure a lien on a homestead, you must execute a written contract before beginning work or supplying any materials. As a contractor, by creating this contract with the owner (and spouse) you are making sure anyone else working on the site, like subcontractors, can benefit from the contract. If the owner of the property is married, regardless if only the owner is on the deed, both spouses need to sign the contract.

You must file the contract with the county clerk. If the homestead is in Houston, that means filing it by certified mail or in person with the Harris County Clerk’s Office. If you do not receive timely payment, you can move on to filing an affidavit of lien.

Affidavit of Lien

For a homestead property, the affidavit of lien must include certain text at the top in at least 10-point bold type. The text at the top of the affidavit must state, “NOTICE: THIS IS NOT A LIEN. THIS IS ONLY AN AFFIDAVIT CLAIMING A LIEN.”

In order to have a valid lien on the homestead, a specific notice must be given to the owner. It is listed in Section 53.252, part g. It tells the owner that their property will be subject to a lien for the amount that they are liable to pay you to distribute to subcontractors and suppliers.

The affidavit of lien can then result in the court filing a lien on the property.

Consult with an Attorney

Lien laws are complicated and if any deadlines are missed or paperwork incorrectly filed, it can result in losing your rights to lien the property of a client who doesn’t pay. It’s good to consult with an attorney who is familiar with liens and construction law. Cotney Law can help you with lien questions, construction law, and litigation.

If you would like to speak with our Houston contractor 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.

Texas has expansive lien laws that include options for filing liens that contractors in most states don’t have. Other than statutory mechanic’s liens, contractors are able to assert constitutional liens in Texas.

In part one of this article, a Houston construction lawyer gave some insight to how mechanic’s lien laws work in Texas. In this part of the article, we are going to go over constitutional lien laws.

Constitutional Liens

Texas is one of only seven states with provisions for liens in its constitution. Working directly with the owner of the property may afford you the ability to utilize a constitutional lien. This type of lien is only possible if you are contracting with the owner of the property or their agent. A constitutional lien may be filed after the filing period for a statutory mechanic’s lien has passed.

Constitutional liens are self-executing, meaning you don’t need to send notice to the owner, but it is a good practice and gives better documentation if you do send notice. Because you have a contract with the owner, the law assumes the owner knows they haven’t paid you.

To claim a constitutional lien, you need to file a lien affidavit as you would for a mechanic’s lien. Recording your lien in a timely manner is important, otherwise the property you’re trying to put the lien against could be sold before you file. If you haven’t asserted the lien yet, do it before the two- to four-year statute of limitations has run out.

A Houston Construction Attorney Can Help You

Texas lien laws are complicated, you may benefit from someone who knows the law well and can help you protect your rights. Cotney Law employs construction law professionals who can help you understand your options for filing a lien. Our lawyers can advise you if you have lien questions, if filing a lien is no longer an option, or if you need legal representation.

If you would like to speak with our Houston construction lawyers, 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.

Texas has some of the most complicated lien laws of any state. The two main kinds of liens available to contractors are mechanic’s liens and constitutional liens. Both of these kinds of liens begin with a contract with the property owner or representative of the property owner. If an owner is not paying you for your work, it may be time to think about filing a preliminary notice or a lien.

In part one of this article, a Houston construction lien attorney explains mechanic’s liens in Texas.

Preliminary Notices

It is important to give the owner ample time to pay before filing a lien. In some cases, just filing a notice can result in payment. In Texas, all notices are due the 15th day of the second month after you have commenced work at the site. If you are doing any kind of specialty work, you may wish to file a Notice of Specially Fabricated Materials.

Notices must be filed with the Harris County Clerk’s office to be valid and maintain proper records. Send notice to owners or their representatives by way of certified mail and request a return receipt for documentation.

Statutory Mechanic’s Liens Deadlines

The deadlines to file mechanic’s liens are fairly complicated and vary by property type, such as residential, non-residential, and homestead. Homestead properties have different deadlines and laws, covered in another article. It is always good to check with the owner of a residential property to make sure it is not a homesteaded property before starting your work, so you can comply with the law.

The deadlines for filing the Affidavit of Mechanic’s Lien are as follows:

  • Non-residential: Lien must be filed by the 15th day of the fourth month after the day the debt accrued. The deadline to enforce the lien is two years after the last day possible to file the lien or one year from the completion date of the work, depending on which date is later.
  • Residential: Lien must be filed by the 15th day of the third month after the day the debt accrued. The deadline to enforce the lien is one year after the last day possible to file the lien or one year from the completion date of the work, using the later date.

The lien affidavit must be sent to the Harris County Clerk’s office and to the owner with certified mail. It must be sent to the owner no more than five days after it is filed with the County Clerk.

There may still be options to assert a lien if you’ve already missed the deadline for a mechanic’s lien. Read part 2 of this article to learn about constitutional liens.

If you would like to speak with 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.

As the number of construction sites increase, so does the need for more middle-skills construction workers. That means more construction workers need education beyond high school but don’t need a four-year degree. The Greater Houston Partnership has come up with a helpful tool to get more people involved in the kind learning needed for middle-skills construction jobs.

In this article, a Houston construction attorney gives you an overview of this new program.

What is the UpSkill Houston Program?

The UpSkill Houston program is the joint effort of educators, employers, and organizations in the local community. Apart from construction, health sciences and transportation jobs are also highlighted because they are facing a large skills gap as well.

The program focuses on jobs that need formal education past high school but not a bachelors degree. This may be enticing for people who do not want the often massive debt associated with a four-year college degree.

Program Features

One feature of the program is videos of real people explaining what it’s like to have their job. The “My Life As” video series offers insights from people working in the field as they talk about their jobs and benefits, such as financial security. The videos are not the only resource, there are also worksheets and printouts to help the curious discover more about possible fields of employment on the website.

Help for the Construction Worker Shortage

When asked why construction is more prominent than the other types of employment on the website, Bryant Black from the Greater Houston Partnership said, “In the beginning, we were hearing more and more from our member organizations that they were having trouble attracting those workers, so construction has organically become a big part of UpSkill out of necessity.” A survey by Associated General Contractors in 2018 found that around 78 percent of construction firms in Texas are finding it difficult to recruit workers with the needed skills.

The program partners with K-12 schools, which helps more young people learn about middle-skills construction jobs. This could eventually help the aging construction workforce bolster its numbers with younger workers.

If you would like to speak with 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.