Mechanics and Materialmen’s Liens
At The Cromeens Law Firm, PLLC, we ensure that individuals or companies who provide labor and/or construction materials are paid for their services. This is usually achievable with either of the following:
- Filing a Lawsuit
- Filing a Mechanics and/or Materialmen’s Lien (i.e., construction lien, property lien, or M&M lien)
Since 2006, our law firm has delivered cost-effective solutions to the most complex of construction disputes, and it is safe to say that filing an M&M lien is your best chance at keeping legal costs down while ensuring that you or your company get paid for your work.
What are Mechanics and Materialmen’s Liens?
Liens are sworn legal documents that outline the debt accrued and how much is truly owed. These documents are used by creditors as a means of guaranteeing payment for services or materials rendered. If payment isn’t made, the owner’s credit and/or ability to sell or refinance the property could be negatively affected.
There are two types of M&M Liens:
- Statutory Lien – This lien is available to anyone who supplies labor and/or materials to a construction project through a written or verbal agreement with the owner’s agent, trustee, receiver, contractor, or subcontractor. These liens usually have specific, stringent deadlines and strict notification rules enforcing when, how, and to whom these notifications are sent.
- Constitutional Lien – This lien is provided by the Texas Constitution and only available to the aforementioned companies or individuals who have a contract with a property owner where the project is under construction. These types of liens don’t require any type of notification or adhere to any timelines as a statutory lien does, and if it isn’t filed before the owner sells the property, the lien will not be enforceable to the new owner.
Filing for an M&M lien in the State of Texas can be a complicated process, but trust that your Texas mechanics and materialmen’s lien attorneys of The Cromeens Law Firm, PLLC., have your business’ best interest at heart.
Regarding Lien Timelines and Notices
It is important that M&M lien claimants know the following information to ensure that you or your company are acting within compliance:
- All lien timelines run from the oldest invoice. If work was performed from January through March and remains unpaid, the notice timeline begins in January. From then, the party (e.g., sub-subcontractor or material supplier) has until March 15 to send out a notice for work performed throughout those three months.
- The timeline for notices begins when the materials are delivered or supplied to the contractor for use within the construction project or when the labor was performed, not when either was invoiced.
- All notices must be sent certified mail return receipt requested. The post office must give you a stamped receipt after the notice has been mailed to provide you with proof that it was sent.
- Regardless of whether the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend, the notice is still due. Make proper adjustments to ensure that the notice is sent ahead of time.
While this information covers a generalized view of what to expect with lien timelines and notices, the project type also makes a difference. Trust that our Texas mechanics and materialmen’s lien attorneys at The Cromeens Law Firm, PLLC., will work to make sure you get paid for your services rendered.
1. Commercial Projects
A commercial project can encompass any project that is owned by an entity, including a house. In this project type, sub-subcontractors and materials suppliers must:
- Send written notification to the original contractor – also known as the OC, or the contractor hired by the owner – by the 15th day of the second month after materials were supplied/delivered or work performed, all of which remain unpaid.
- Send an additional notice to the OC and the owner on or before the 15th day of the third month from when materials and labor were supplied.
For subcontractors, they must send a notice to both the owner and the OC no later than the 15th of the third month from when the materials and labor were delivered/supplied.
Lastly, sub-subcontractors, materials suppliers, and subcontractors must all file their liens by the 15th day of the 4th month after the last day materials or labor were delivered or supplied. Notice of the lien must also be sent to the OC within five days from when it was filed.
2. Residential Construction
A residential construction project focuses on the construction or repair of a single-family house or multi-tenant structure that is used for residential purposes and owned by one or more adult persons. In this project type, a subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, or materials supplier must:
- Send notice of the unpaid amounts to the owner and OC on the 15th day of the 2nd month after the materials and/or labor was supplied.
- File their liens no later than the 15th of the 3rd month after the last shipment of materials and labor were delivered and/or supplied.
From there, a notice of the lien must be sent to both the owner and the OC within five days from when it was filed.
A homestead is a place where someone resides or where they plan to live if they lack one. For this construction project type:
- Homestead status is determined when the project officially begins.
- All the parties involved – all the property owners, including the husband and wife, and the individuals or company doing the work – must have a contract signed.
Regarding M&M Liens and Public Property Project
Liens cannot be filed on public property, but the general contractor of a public project is required to acquire a payment and performance bond for all individuals and/or companies that supply labor or materials to the project.
For general bonds claimants within a Texas public work projects:
- All timelines run from the oldest open invoice.
- The timeline for notices begin on the day the materials were delivered or supplied to a contractor for use on the day the work was performed, not when the work or materials were invoiced.
- All notices must be sent certified mail return receipt requested.
- All notices must be sent by the 15th of its required month, regardless if it falls on a weekend or holiday.
For sub-subcontractors and material suppliers, a notice must be sent to the prime contractor and the bond company no later than the 15th day of the 3rd month after labor was performed or materials were supplied/delivered. This notice must include a sworn statement of the amount that is owed.
A Few Tips About Bonds
It is always good practice to request a copy of the bond from the prime contractor once the public project has commenced. This bond is not required to be filed in any medium that is available to the public, so if the prime contractor fails to provide you with a copy, you must obtain it through a public information request. Keep in mind, however, that this process can take up to 30 days to
For federal projects, the prime contractor is required to obtain a bond. To file a claim on a federal bond, you must send in a sworn statement of the claim to the prime contractor and the bond company.
Experienced Texas mechanics and materialmen’s lien attorneys working for you.
An honest day’s work requires an honest day’s pay, and at The Cromeens Law Firm, PLLC, we want to ensure that you are paid for your services rendered.
With more than 13 years of experience in liens, trust that our Texas mechanics and materialmen’s lien attorneys can ensure that you receive exactly what is due to you without a penny less.
Contact us at (713) 893-0845 to begin your M&M liens consultation and process today.