Homestead, Mechanic’s, and Materialman’s Liens Series – Post #3: Contractor Collections

I do remodeling work for people and sometimes don’t get paid.  Is there a way to collect what I am owed?

A person who supplies materials or labor on a residential home (and on other properties) does have a method under Texas law for filing a lien against the property for non-payment.  The rules differ slightly between residential, commercial and other property, and even property owned by governmental entities, but the collection methods are similar.  The notices are not particularly complicated but the timing is critical.  Notices must be sent at specified times to the property Owner and General Contractor, if there is one, and certain filings made at the County Clerk’s office on very precise dates.  Failure to send notices or file on time makes the lien invalid.  Texas Courts give no leeway for a missed date!  Those deadlines are fairly short, so within six weeks from the time any labor is performed or materials are supplied (whether finished with the project or not), notices or filings may be due (based on calendar months).  There are also special provisions for “specially fabricated materials” which differ from the normal rules. These additional provisions help protect contractors for custom work, particularly if something cannot be resold if unused.  Due to the timelines and quirks in the rules, it is always advisable to have an attorney involved.  Many people wait too late, and then they have less chance of being paid.

If you have an invoice that has gone unpaid, give us a call at 254-300-7909 or come see us. The timing could be very important to collecting payment.