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.
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.