The State of Texas is notorious for having some of the most complex and confusing rules regarding mechanic’s liens. If you are a contractor, subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, materials supplier, equipment lessor, or another party who has the right to file a lien against an owner who is withholding payment, your best course of action is to consult a Houston construction lawyer who is well-versed in lien law and can prevent you from making a mistake related to mechanic’s liens.
In parts one and two of this four-part series, the Houston construction lawyers at Cotney Law discussed who can file a mechanic’s lien, who should send preliminary notices before filing a lien, and detailed the specific preliminary notice filing rules for various parties involved in the building process.
Observe Deadlines Before Your Lien is Rejected
All too often, our Houston construction lawyers receive calls from frustrated contractors who have had their liens rejected because they failed to file their lien according to the deadlines outlined in Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code. To clarify, liens must be filed by the fifteenth day of the fourth calendar month following the day on which the debt accrued. For residential projects, the lien must be filed by the fifteenth day of the third calendar month.
For example, if commercial work is performed in the month of May and goes unpaid, the lien must be filed no later than September 15 or else it will be rejected. Enforcement of the lien in this example would then be required within two years of the last filing day (September 15) or, alternatively, one year from the date of the project’s completion. The later of these two dates will be established as the official deadline for enforcing the lien. Residential projects differ as the deadline extends one year from both the final date of filing and the completion of the project. Once again, which date falls later will be established as the official deadline for lien enforcement.
What About Subcontractors and Suppliers?
For subcontractors and suppliers, mechanic’s liens are required to be filed by the fifteenth day of the fourth calendar month following the day on which the last provision of labor or materials was contributed to the project. Residential projects differ slightly as these mechanic’s liens must be filed by the fifteenth day of the third month instead. The claimant must enforce the lien within two years stemming from the last day they could legally file the lien or one year from the project’s completion. The later of these two days is ultimately the deadline. Once again, there is a slight variance in the deadlines for residential projects — one year from the last day to file or one year from project completion.
To learn some other important facts about mechanic’s liens in Texas, read part four.
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.