The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has put an incredible strain on owners and contractors throughout the country. Even as Texas begins to lift restrictions placed on businesses to stop the spread of the virus, professionals throughout the construction industry will continue to operate under incredible financial pressure. And if you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve found yourself in a position where your only option is to file a mechanic’s lien in pursuit of owed payment.
Below, a Houston construction lien lawyer discusses what contractors should consider when filing a mechanic’s lien in Texas in the wake of COVID-19. As we’ll see below, complying with the state’s strict deadlines remains vital for protecting lien rights. For assistance filing a mechanic’s lien in a timely and proper manner, consult a Houston construction lien attorney from Cotney Law.
As we’ve covered previously, Texas has some of the most complex lien laws in the nation. In Texas, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and suppliers must send notice of nonpayment to the owner every single month. Subcontractors must give notice no later than the 15th day of the second month (third month for sub-subcontractors) following each month labor or materials were provided. And this doesn’t even cover residential properties. Although notices can be delivered in person, we suggest sending it by certified mail to reduce risk of exposure to the virus.
Filing a Lien Affidavit
All contractors will need to file a lien affidavit with the county where the property is located. If you are a Houston-based contractor, you will need to file your lien affidavit with the Harris County Clerk’s Office. Like many clerk’s offices throughout the state, the Harris County Clerk’s Office is closed but still e-filing and accepting mail. Although COVID-19 has created unforeseen problems, you are nonetheless responsible for submitting your lien affidavit in compliance with Texas law no later than “the 15th day of the fourth calendar month after the day on which the indebtedness accrues.” Failure to do so could result in you losing your lien rights.
Leave the Deadlines to Us
The strain that COVID-19 is placing on county clerk offices and our nation’s postal service is all the more reason why you need to get it right the first time when you send notices and submit your lien affidavit. We always encourage our readers to remain knowledgeable of Texas lien law; however, the lien process is simply too demanding to leave anything to chance. To ensure that your notices are delivered on time and your lien is filed in accordance with state law, consult a Houston construction lien attorney from Cotney Law.
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.