Warning

Warning: Why You Should Be Wary of Online Lien Filing Services

Filing a mechanic’s lien is a subcontractor or material supplier’s best option for collecting payment. The mechanic’s lien is crucial in protecting your right to payment through a standardized and inexpensive process. Without a mechanic’s lien, your next best option for securing payment is suing for breach of contract, which can become very expensive and time-consuming. The lien process can be tricky, and the steps must be followed meticulously, or it will be invalid. Not only do you only have one chance to file a lien, you actually can be fined for filing an improper lien. It’s so important to get your lien filed correctly! In this article, we’ll examine why you should be wary of online lien filing services.

The temptation of using an online lien filing service

You may be tempted to file a lien through some of these online lien filing services we have been seeing. We get it: they’re inexpensive, and they make it sound so easy. But the old saying of “you get what you pay for” definitely holds true with these online lien filing services. As they have become more and more popular, we’ve increasingly seen clients come to us because their lien is not enforceable after using an online filing service. We have seen clients lose their ability to collect tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars because even the smallest of steps in their lien process was not done properly.

Your business depends on being able to collect money for the work you performed and the materials you supplied. You must make sure your lien is done correctly and by a trusted professional. Below are some of the reasons you should not trust the security of your money to an online lien service:

Research

Here at The Cromeens Law Firm, we research all of the information you give to us to make sure everything is correct. Remember, even just an old address could make your lien invalid! Below are some real examples where we have seen liens filed by an online lien filing service that were found to be invalid due to lack of proper research:

  • To be paid, you need to have a valid lien, to have a valid lien you must send notice to the owner of the property and the general contractor at their last known address. Research is needed to find the correct information. We have seen multiple examples of notices sent through online lien services where the address is wrong. One wrong address, or notice, and your entire lien is gone.
  • You need to have an accurate legal description of the property; research is required to find this correct information. We have seen multiple situations of notices sent through online lien services where the address is correct, but the legal description is wrong. One wrong legal description and your lien is gone.

Timing

Here at The Cromeens Law Firm, we ensure all of your notices are sent within the lien timelines of Texas. You have multiple deadlines that need to be followed to have an enforceable lien, and there is absolutely no wiggle room. If you miss the deadline by just one day, your lien becomes invalid. Below are some real examples where we have seen liens filed by an online lien filing service, that were found invalid because important deadlines were not met:

  • There are different deadlines depending on whether it was a residential, commercial, or a public works job. The state has stringent guidelines of what constitutes a residential, commercial, or public works job. We often see people classify their job incorrectly, and thus follow the wrong lien timeline. Submitting a notice with the timetable for a commercial job, for example, when your job was actually residential, will make your lien unenforceable. File with the wrong lien deadline and your lien is gone.
  • These deadlines have to be followed precisely; there are no exceptions! If you miss the deadline by just one day, or the deadline was on a Sunday or even a holiday and the post office was closed, it doesn’t matter, you missed the deadline, and there is no going back. We have seen multiple situations where notices were sent a couple of days late, or resent after the deadline, because they got the address wrong the first time. If you miss just one of the deadlines, your lien is gone.

Delivery

Here at The Cromeens Law Firm, we ensure all of your notices are sent via the proper delivery method to prove its enforceability. For a lien to be found enforceable, all of your notices have to be sent on or before the 15th, taken to the post office, and physically stamped and sent via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested (CMRRR). Below is a real example where we have seen liens, filed by an online lien filing service, found invalid due to the notices not being sent correctly.

  • The only way to prove that your notice is sent on or before the 15th is to take the letter to the post office and have it physically stamped and sent via CMRRR. When you send something via CMRRR, you receive proof in writing back that your notice was delivered. This is a crucial step that many overlook! We’ve seen online lien services send notices online and through regular, non-certified mail, which cannot be proven in court. If you can’t prove you sent timely notice, your lien is gone.

Invalid Liens

As experienced construction attorneys, any time we see a lien filed against one of our clients by an online lien service, we know there could be errors and our first priority is to get it thrown out immediately. We’re not the only ones that know this. Any construction attorney who sees a lien from an online service immediately starts the process of proving it is unenforceable.

Our attorneys have reviewed thousands of mechanic’s and materialman’s liens. We know just by looking at a lien that it was filed by an online lien filing service and should not be paid. Since we can spot an invalid lien a mile away, we also know exactly what to do to make sure a lien we file is valid and our clients are paid quickly!

When filing a lien with an online lien filing service, you pay them a fee, they send out some forms, and that is it. Here at The Cromeens Law Firm, we are collection experts. We make collection phone calls to all parties involved and keep hounding them until your money is collected. We proudly stand behind our 90% collection rate and we exhaust all avenues of collection before having to move forward to expensive litigation. It is our duty to save you time and money.

Conclusion

You only have one shot at filing a valid lien. If you don’t get it right the first time, you can’t go back and fix it. There is nothing worse than filing an invalid lien where you could end up paying the owner or general contractor’s attorney fees required to remove your unenforceable lien.

We offer affordable, flat rate pricing on all of our lien services. Your money is worth being protected. Call us today at 713-715-7334 and let us help you file a valid lien.

 

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