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Are my liens invalid?

TexasMechanics Lien

I am a sub-sub contractor in Texas on commercial properties. I had zlien file 2 mechanic liens for me to try and get the monies owed to me for the work we performed. The letter from the General Contractor's attorney states that my liens are invalid and if I do not sign the releases, they will take action against me. Desire Baez, who has been handling this for zlien, has all the paper work in her possession. I can provide it as well if need be. I just need to know my options and if I should sign the releases or not, or if the liens are in fact, invalid. Thanks

1 reply

Jun 26, 2018
First it's worth noting that when a mechanics lien has been filed, it's extremely common for an owner or GC's first response to be to challenge the validity of the filed lien. As we discuss in this article, that does not necessarily mean that a given lien claim is invalid. Plus, when a GC or an owner threatens legal action, they often cite that some slander of title has occurred or that a lien has been fraudulently filed (and possibly both). While penalties may come into play when a lien has been fraudulently filed, it's worth noting that even where there are errors with a filed lien, not every error constitutes fraud. Finally, if a party filing a lien is asserting that a lien has been fraudulently filed, note that proving fraud on a lien claim can be a real chore - especially when there's at least some valid basis for the filed claim. Ultimately, though, whether a lien claim is valid or not will depend on whether the necessary statutory requirements have been followed. In Texas, this includes sending the appropriate monthly notices and abiding by the lien deadline as applicable. For Texas sub-subcontractors on non-residential projects, this includes sending a 2nd month notice to the general contractor and a 3rd month notice to both the owner and the general contractor for the trapping of funds (residential projects require only a 2nd month notice to the owner and GC as well as a retainage notice). These notices, when sent timely via registered or certified mail, preserve the right to file a valid mechanics lien. As for the filing deadline - that date is the 15th day of the 4th month (3rd month if the project is residential) after the month in which the lien claimant last furnished labor or material to the project. In sum: it's extremely common for a filed lien to be challenged. Often, an owner or GC will challenge a lien regardless of its validity in hopes to have the lien claim disappear. If the proper notices were sent and the deadlines were abided by, a lien claim will typically be valid and enforceable. However, if a claimant is concerned about the validity of the lien and legal action appears to be imminent, it might be a good option to consult a local construction or real estate attorney to discuss the validity of a filed lien claim. Finally, if a lien claim is released or otherwise found invalid, there are other options for recovery.
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