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
- 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
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.
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.