I have studied the procedures for filing liens in all states, and I must say that Texas has some of the most complicated rules. That is where the learning curve for understanding how to file a contractor lien in Texas arises. It is astonishing to me that there are so many different ways to achieve the same outcome across different states. Just because one can file a lien anywhere in the United States does not mean the process is uniform.
Basics of Filing a Contractor Lien
If you’re a contractor or material supplier working on a nonresidential project. The first step you must take to perfect your lien rights is to send proper notice.
Texas puts a big emphasis on the type of project. A homestead in Texas receives a lot of protection, so if you are a residential contractor working on a house that someone lives in, please read my previous blog article from September 2022 about how to file a lien on a homestead.
Notice and Timeframes
You must send notice to the owner and to the original contractor on or before the 15th day of the third month after you are first owed money. Notice that I said from the first time that you are owed money, the timeline for notice always runs from the first time you’re owed money.
For example, if you are working in January and February and you are unpaid for January work, your notice timeline would start from January, and your notice would need to go out no later than April 15th.
As long as you’re working, you can keep sending notices for the unpaid amounts. Your timeline to file your lien runs from the last time you worked.
You have until the 15th day of the fourth month of your date of last work to file your lien. So, from the example above, if you worked in January and finished in February, your lien would need to be filed on June 15.
The timeline given above are deadlines, but there are no penalties for sending a notice or filing your lien early. If there is an issue, it is better to send notice and file your lien as soon as possible.
The lien must be filed with the county clerk where the property is located. Within 5 days of filing your lien you must send a copy of the lien that has been filed to the owner and general contractor.
Checklist to File a Contractor Lien in Texas
All notices must be sent by certified mail or any other form of delivery that can confirm proof of receipt.
The lien must contain the following:
- A sworn statement of the amount owed.
- Name and address of owner.
- A general statement of the work done and/or materials supplied and a statement of what months the work and/or materials were provided.
- Name and address of the person you were hired by and the name and address of the original contractor if they are not the party that hired you.
- Legal description of the property.
- Your name and address.
- A statement of the dates and methods you sent notice.
The lien process in Texas is complicated, and there can be severe penalties if you miss a step or perform a step incorrectly.
At The Cromeens Law Firm, we know how to correctly file liens in Texas and have affordable flat rates and subscription pricing for you.