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The Construction Payment Blog and levelset’s Mechanics Lien resources are jam-packed with information about the mechanics lien laws as they vary from state-to-state, but we rarely analyze these laws at the county level. levelset is changing that with our in-depth guides for specific counties across the country.
What You Need To Know About Filing a Mechanics Lien In Dallas County That Is Different From Texas Generally
Most mechanics lien information we publish regards the state’s general law and not any rule specific to a county. There’s good reason for this practice as these laws are creatures of the state legislature and vary by state, not by county.
There is practical information you need to know about each county to get your mechanics lien actually filed. Nevertheless, there is practical information you need to know about each county to get your mechanics lien actually filed. This practical information is sometimes understandable (i.e. the county recorder’s margin requirements), but is oftentimes just plain frustrating (like a county recorder that interjects a rule they are not authorized to require).
The above presentation provides you with some practical tips about filing a mechanics lien in Dallas County, Texas. We consider this to be pretty high-level information about getting a mechanics lien recorded in that county, and it is the by-product of years of experience in recording lien claims for clients in Dallas County.
Here is some example information disclosed in the presentation. Again, some of this may or may not apply to other counties in Dallas, but it definitely applies in Dallas County:
- Make sure you include a blank page at the end of your document for the recording stamp.
- Your lien is not valid if you fail to deliver a copy to the Owner within 5 days of filing
- If you want to get a copy back, you ought to deliver an extra copy with your filing and provide the courier with a self-addressed stamped envelope for return to you.
Mechanics Lien Filing At The Dallas County Clerk
A lot of preparation goes into qualifying for a mechanics lien right and preparing a claim, but nevertheless, you’ll eventually get to the golden moment when its time to file the lien document itself. Whenever you’re filing a claim against work or materials that was furnished in Dallas, Texas, you’ll be required to record your lien claim in the Dallas County Clerk office. You’ll find that office here:
Dallas County Clerk
500 Main Street, Ste 200
Dallas, TX 75202
Unlike many county recorder offices, the downloadable forms available on the county website does not include a mechanics lien form (You can download a free Texas mechanics lien form from levelset’s website here: Texas Mechanics Lien Forms).
There are two things to keep in mind about Dallas County’s recording office.
First, if you are going to mail the lien in for recording, you’ll want to be very careful. The county’s Frequently Asked Questions page indicates that it will take “15 to 20 business days” to get an original document back from them. This has a number of negative implications for someone trying to record a lien claim:
- Counties reject lien documents all the time, and if your document gets rejected, you won’t know it for 15-20 business days, which can cause you to blow through your deadline; and
- Texas law requires you deliver a copy of the mechanics lien within 5 days of filing, which means that you can’t wait on the county recorder’s 15-20 day delay to satisfy this requirement.
Read more about the challenges of mailing a lien in for recording here: County Recorders Behind Schedule? You Don’t Have To Be.
Second, if you’re going to record the lien by “walking it through” yourself, be cautious of the county’s hours and holiday schedule. Court approved holidays seem to occur every other day, which will render the recording office closed. Further, the Dallas County Recorder closes at 4:30pm, which is thirty minutes before when you might expect.
Dallas County does a pretty good job of keeping folks up to date on their holiday and emergency schedule through Twitter: @dallascountytx. At the time of this post, for example, Dallas was recovering from an ice storm. Here is the Twitter update that would save you a frustrating and useless trip to the recorder:
Dallas County to delay opening to 10am Monday due to continued weather conditions https://t.co/ZX6P8FFBBn
– Dallas County (@DallasCountyTx) December 9, 2013
Don’t Forget That Texas Legal Requirements Apply Throughout Texas, Including In Dallas
While each county has its own nuances when it comes to getting a mechanics lien claim recorded, the law is generally the same. Texas’ complicated notice requirements and lien framework applies in Dallas, and accordingly, before you’re ever qualified to file your document with the county recorder you’ll need to meet all the requirements of the state’s law.
We’re published extensive materials and resources on Texas’ Mechanics Lien Laws, including this overview post that will guide you through most everything you need to know about protecting and perfecting your lien rights in the state: How to File Your Lien and Get Paid in Texas.
If you’re uncertain about the law, don’t expect the county to be of any help. They are strictly trained to never give legal advice or to help anyone looking to record a document. Instead, they are performing the ministerial duty of recording documents that are presented to them. That’s it.
Which brings us to another point: Dallas County Clerk’s staff is not really a gatekeeper to make sure that you are qualified to file a mechanics lien. While the requirements are complicated and plenty, your lien is likely to get recorded even if you didn’t do everything right — so long as the form meets the recording requirements. This will, of course, open you to a lien dispute, but at least it’s information that will empower you to go to the recorder with your claim without [much] fear that the recorder will go through your business with a fine-tooth comb.