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Can we file a lien for the total amount due after the first unpaid invoice?

TexasBankruptcyLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPayment Disputes

I hope this question isn't confusing. We have a client that we have worked for for years and they are having financial difficulty. We have about 4 open projects we are currently working on for them. Can I file a lien for the total amount due now even though some of the work will be performed in the future? For instance, they have not paid their July invoices so we need to send the notice of intent to lien. Due to our good relationship, we don't want to terminate working for failure to pay but we are hearing the company may not be solvent and we want to protect our claim. The lien filed with the court states a specific amount and I don't want it to only reflect the current amount owed and then file multiple liens each month as the material and labor accrues.

1 reply

Sep 21, 2017
Liens provide great protection to secure payment for the work performed on a construction project, but they are limited to providing a means to recovery for the work that was performed. Liens can only be filed for work performed and money due - so filing a lien for work that is not yet performed is a no-go. Liens have been invalidated for being filed "too early" and that would definitely not be the result you're looking for.

However, provided you are delivering your monthly notices on-time and correctly, you should be protected. By providing the required notices you retain the ability to file a lien for the amount due, and can wait to file the lien itself until either 1) you finish your work; or 2) when your contribution to the project is wrapping up because of the insolvency of your customer. Multiple liens are not required. Because of certain intricacies of mechanics lien and bankruptcy law, mechanics liens can even be filed if the customer declares bankruptcy.

Also note, if you are working on 4 different projects (at different location with different owners) it is likely that 4 sets of notices and 4 different liens will need to be filed.
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