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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Can an equipment company file a mechanics lien on a project for repairs performed on that machine we have rented for this project when it broke down and they want to charge the customer for the repairs that we not caused by operator error?

Can an equipment company file a mechanics lien on a project for repairs performed on that machine we have rented for this project when it broke down and they want to charge the customer for the repairs that we not caused by operator error?

TexasConstruction ContractMechanics Lien

We rented a machine for earthwork performed on a project. This machine broke down several times causing us downtime while they fixed the machine on the jobsite. We cannot bill the customer for repairs not caused by operator error, but the equipment company is charging me and threatening to place a lien on te property if I dont pay. I do not feel these charges should valid to me, much less the customer when the machine that I am renting/leasing broke down and it was not due to operator error. The reason for the equipment breaking is not in dispute. p

1 reply

Feb 1, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that - it certainly sounds like an unfair situation. First, equipment lessors will typically have lien rights in Texas. However, whether the work itself is lienable is another question altogether. Before getting to that part, though, it's important to note that the act of filing a lien may often be accomplished regardless of whether the filed lien would be considered valid or invalid in a foreclosure action. So, even if the work might not serve as the valid basis for a lien, it's entirely possible that a lien could actually be filed on the project. Of course, Texas has penalties for improper lien filings depending on the situation. Anyway, generally, mechanics liens secure payment for labor/material furnished for the improvement of property. The repair of equipment leased for the construction of an improvement might be too attenuated for mechanics lien rights to arise, but it's certainly possible that a court could find that the work falls under the purview of the Texas mechanics lien laws. Finally, whether or not payment is actually owed for the repair of the leased equipment will be controlled by the terms of your contract with the equipment lessor. If payment wasn't owed in the first place, then a valid lien could not be filed. Meeting with a local construction attorney could help provide clarity as to what, if anything, is owed, and what the next course of action should be.
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