Mechanic’s Liens and Constitutional Liens
A mechanic’s lien gives those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property a security interest in the title to property as a means of ensuring payment. A contractor or supplier of material to a construction project who is not paid for services or materials provided is able to file a lien against the property for the amount owed, which can be enforced by a foreclosure action. This right is granted by the Texas State Constitution.
Who Can Use Liens to Enforce Payment?
Some categories of contributors to a project eligible to file a lien against a property include
- Laborers, carpenters, electricians, heating and air conditioning contractors and plumbers
- Lumber, plumbing, electrical suppliers and specialty item suppliers;
- Architects and civil engineers.
Provisions of the Texas Constitution
The Texas Constitution contains provisions for original contractors to file mechanic’s liens, which only apply to contractors who have a contractual relationship directly with the owner. In other words, it protects primary contractors, but not subcontractors.
A Complex Legal Web
The lien laws put in place by the Texas legislature and the Texas State Constitution to ensure payment to contractors are incredibly complicated and confusing, so it is extremely rare that liens get filed or enforced without the assistance of an attorney who handles them with some regularity.
Type of Project Based on Ownership
Different statutes apply, depending on whether the project is private work, state public work, or federal public work.
Claims arising out of private work on which no bond was issued or for which the owner obtained a “statutory bond” are addressed by the Texas Property Code.
The Miller Act governs construction of federal projects and requires prime contractors to post payment bonds in connection with all contracts of more than $100,000 for the construction, alteration or repair of U.S. government properties.
Claims for payment on state public work projects in Texas are governed by the Texas Government Code, formerly known as the McGregor Act, even if the project is financed using federal funds.
As if commercial liens were not complicated enough, residential liens have even more rules and additional filing requirements. If you hold a judgment against a residential property owner for work you’ve done on a home, you should contact an experienced construction and collections attorney to learn what you will need to do to enforce it.
Put a Good Construction and Collection Lawyer to Work for You
If you are a contractor in the State of Texas, it is important to have a relationship with a construction attorney who has significant experience in filing and enforcing mechanic’s liens. Because there are so many different statutes and so many legal hoops to jump through, this is not something you should attempt to do on your own. It is imperative that you obtain legal counsel.
Where to Get Help with Mechanic’s Liens in Houston
You can find the help you need in filing or enforcing a mechanic’s lien at the Yaziji Law Firm in Houston. We are a firm thoroughly experienced in all aspects of business and construction law. Assisting contractors and suppliers in getting paid what they are owed is a significant part of our law practice. Because you work for a living and deserve to be paid, Yajizi Law is here to help; we have a 14 year track record of successfully filing and executing liens for our clients. Get what is coming to you by bringing us on board to handle your collection as provided for by state and federal law. Call Yaziji Law today to arrange a free legal consultation to learn about your collection options.