Guide to filing a mechanics lien in Dallas County

Non-payment is a huge issue in the construction industry. To combat it, each state has its own lien laws that are designed to protect contractors in case they go unpaid after a construction project. As it happens, Texas provides contractors with strong and comprehensive lien rights. On the other hand, Texas also has some of the most complicated, nuanced, and confusing lien laws in the country. If you need to file a mechanics lien with the Dallas County Clerk, here are three features of Texas lien law that not only make it unique, but extremely complex as well:

  1. Parties who aren’t directly contracted with the property owner need to submit recurring, monthly notices to protect their lien rights. In most other states, you only need to send one preliminary notice. In Texas, there are six different types of notices, and you need to send the right ones at the right times.
  2. The rules for homesteads are different from the rules for ordinary residences. If you’re working on a homestead and you aren’t contracted directly with the owner, you rely on the GC to fulfill their requirements to protect your lien rights. If they fail to meet those requirements, your lien rights are out the window.
  3. Mechanics lien and notice deadlines in Texas are a mess. Generally, the deadline to file a lien claim is the 15th day of the 4th month after the last month in which labor and materials were furnished for the project. There are other factors at play here, and it isn’t always that simple.

We’re not joking when we say Texas‘s lien law and notice requirements are complex. In order to get a leg up, the best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with it before you begin your mechanics lien process. Take a look at our Texas Lien Law guide and FAQ to dive deeper into the laws that affect your right to lien.

If you’re preparing to record a mechanics lien claim in Dallas County, you’re in the right place. This page contains useful information about the Dallas County Clerk‘s Office, including Dallas County‘s recording requirements, recording fees, formatting requirements, contact information, and courier information. You can also find out how record you mechanics lien by mail or eFile your lien with Levelset in minutes.

For an in-depth breakdown of everything you need to file a mechanics lien in Texas, including all the necessary lien documents, refer to our step-by-step guide to Filing A Texas Mechanics Lien.

Where is the Dallas County Clerk's Office that files mechanic liens?

The Recording Division of the Dallas County Clerk is located at:

1201 Elm Street, 22nd Floor, Suite 2200G
Dallas, TX 75270
Phone: 214.653.7099

Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:00am-4:30pm

For information regarding eRecording and recording by mail, refer to this link:

https://www.dallascounty.org/government/county-clerk/erecording-real-property-records.php.

What is Dallas County's Recording Backlog?

Hard to say, but probably long. County backlogs can be long, and Dallas mail-filing backlog is notoriously long.

The Dallas County Clerk does not publish how long their mail backlog is…but you can get a small hint by looking at how long it takes to get something recorded even in person! Here is how they describe this period:

All courier services, third-party representatives, attorney services and messengers must drop off Deeds, Deed of Trust, Leases, and Notice of Default submitted for recording. Documents will be ready for pick-up within 3 business days.

An examiner will review submitted document for proper completion, collect the appropriate fees and taxes, and record your document. The original document will be mailed to you within 4 to 6 weeks (after we complete the process of adding your document to our database for archival retention).

Yikes!

Make sure you send your mechanics lien by in-person delivery or courier. Mailed liens are not immediately recorded and can face waits of more than 8 weeks before they are processed or returned in Dallas.

Should my mechanics lien be filed in Dallas County, or some other county?

If the project is located in Dallas county, then yes, you will want to record your lien with the Dallas County Clerk’s office.

What are Dallas County's requirements for recording a mechanics lien?

Dallas County publishes a long list of requirements for document recording, but only a few of the items apply to mechanic’s lien claims. Here are those items.

1. The property must be located in Dallas County. (C.C. § 1169)

2. The document must be authorized or required by law to be recorded. (G.C. § 27201)

3. Signatures must be original unless the document is a certified copy issued by the appropriate custodian of the public record. (G.C. § 27201b, G.C. § 27279, Evidence Code § 1530)

4. Include the name of the party requesting the recording and a name and address where the document can be returned. (G.C. § 27361.6)

5. The document must be properly acknowledged, unless exempt. Texas requires an (all-purpose acknowledgement). (G.C. §27201, 27289, 27285, 27287, 27288; C.C. § 1189)

6. Documents must be clearly legible in order to produce a readable photographic record. This pertains to the document text, notary seals, certificates and other attachments, such as legal descriptions. (Gov. 27361.7)

7. Include the recording fees.

What are the margin & page size requirements to file a lien in Dallas County?

Paper Size: All documents must be on regular letter-sized paper: 8.5 by 11 inches. Other page sizes incur additional recording fees.

Margin: Except for the first page (see below), a minimum of 0.5 inches must be left blank on all sides of the document.

First Page: 2.5 inches of margin must be left at the top of the first page.

On the left 3.5 inches across, put the name and address of the party requesting the recording, and the address where the document is to be returned following recording.

The remainder of this space (the right 5 inches) is reserved for use by the Registrar-Clerk to enter the official recording information.

Use A Cover Sheet If First Page Does Not Comply: If the first page of a document does not comply with these legal requirements, attach a separate page to the front of the document that meets these spacing criteria and which includes the title or titles of the document.

How can I make payment to the Dallas County Clerk?

Dallas county has many payment options, including payment by cash, credit, and check. However, this depends on whether you’re recording something by mail or in person.

Payment Options for In-Person Recording

• Cash

• Debit/Credit Cards: American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard® or Visa®. Note that an additional $1.75 service fee will be added to your purchase when paying with a debit/credit card.

• Check or Cashier’s Check. Note that valid identification (i.e., driver’s license) of the signer is required and must be presented at time of recording. Out-of-state checks are accepted, but temporary and foreign checks are not accepted. Checks should be made payable to the _Registrar-Clerk/County Clerk._

Payment Options for Recording by Mail

Check, Cashier’s Check or Money Order: Make payable to the _Registrar-Clerk/County Clerk._ Out-of-state checks are accepted, but not temporary or foreign checks.

If you are unsure of the fees, submit a blank check indicating on the Memo field “NOT TO EXCEED $[fill in amount].”

Send documents and payment to:
DALLAS COUNTY CLERK
1201 Elm St, Attn: Recording Division
Dallas, TX 75270
214.653.7099

What are the filing fees to record a mechanics lien in Dallas County?

The Dallas County Clerk’s “base fee” to file a mechanics lien is $26, and includes 1 page. Each additional page costs $4.00.

If your document does comply with margin and print requirements, you may also be charged one of the following penalties:

Nonconforming Fee: $3 per page that is not 8.5 by 11 inches in size (not to exceed 8.5 by 14 inches).

Penalty Print: $1 for each page where penalty print appears, which is defined as “wording added to the printed form that is spaced either more than nine lines per vertical inch, has more than 22 characters and spaces per inch measured horizontally, for not less than three inches in one sentence.”

Indexing Fee: If your lien mentions more than 10 names that must be indexed, you will be charged $4 for each additional group of 10 names.

Fees to obtain a copy
There are also fees charged to get a copy back from the Clerk.

Conformed Copy: $1 per page
Certified Copy: $5 certification fee, plus $1 per page

How do I get a recorded copy of my lien from Dallas County's Clerks Office?

At the time of recording you can purchase a certified copy from the county (fees above). In this case the county will make a copy for you, and certify it.

You can also bring your own copy of the original document to the county when you record it, and they will stamp it to look just like the original. This is called a “conformed” copy and is not certified. It is $1 per page to get 1 conformed copy.

Other than at the time of recording, requesting a Certified Copy of your recording in-person can only be done at the following office:

Dallas Registrar-Clerk/County Clerk
1201 Elm Street, 22nd Floor, Suite 2200G
Dallas, TX 75270

To do this by Mail:

DALLAS COUNTY CLERK
1201 Elm St, Attn: Recording Division
Dallas, TX 75270

To do this online:

https://www.dallascounty.org/government/county-clerk/official-public-records-search.php.

Which courier(s) can help me file a mechanics lien in Dallas County?

There are many courier services in Dallas. We recommend DDS Legal Services for courier services to the Dallas county Clerk’s office.

Do I have the right to file a mechanics lien in Dallas, Texas?

Determining whether you do or do not have a mechanics lien right can be tricky. Generally speaking, every state gives those who have furnished labor and/or materials to a construction project the right to file a mechanics lien if unpaid for the furnishing. The same is true in Texas. However, there are some state-specific limitations as to who is qualified to file a mechanics lien that is important when considering whether you have the right to file a mechanics lien in Dallas County, Texas.

Great and detailed information about this is available on our Texas Mechanics Lien Resources Page.

When is the deadline to file a lien in Dallas?

In Dallas County, Texas, your deadline to file a mechanics lien is dependent upon your role in the project. A direct contractor must record his claim of lien after completion of the direct contract, and either ninety (90) days after completion of the work of improvement, or sixty (60) days after the owner records a Notice of Completion or Cessation; whichever is sooner.

A claimant other than a direct contractor must record his mechanics’ lien after the claimant ceases to provide work, and either: ninety (90) days after completion of the work of improvement,or, thirty (30) days after the owner records a Notice of Completion or Cessation; whichever is earlier.

What is the fee to file a Texas Preliminary Notice in Dallas County?

The filing fee to record and file a Texas preliminary notice in Dallas is $64. While you can file a Texas preliminary notice in Dallas, there is a question of whether you should.

We explored this in the Ultimate Guide to Texas’s Preliminary Notice, as well as in response to this question in our Expert Center: Am I required to record – or should I record – a Texas preliminary notice?.

Since filing a Texas prelim offers very little benefits, but is quite costly, it’s probably a good idea to NOT file it. And you don’t need to. You only need to send it. More about that on our guide and FAQs area, all linked to above.

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