A Texas-based contractor requested soil testing services on (7) residential lots in Sherman, TX. There is no formal, documented contract. He acknowledged services, but refuses to pay. Can I still file a lien on the properties? Thank you.
Jun 4, 2018
The answer to your question may very well depend on the property the services were performed. If performed on residential properties where houses currently stand, the rules surrounding liens against homesteads might prevent a lien claim where no written contract exists (more on that, here: Texas Mechanics Lien on Homestead Property: Everything You Need to Know). If work was performed on lots that are zoned residential but have not been transferred to individual owners, or if the properties are residential but not homesteads (which would be hard to determine), the rules regarding mechanics liens and homestead property in Texas might not apply. Anyway, for the sake of argument, assuming the properties are not homesteads, the question still stands whether one lien would be sufficient to encumber multiple properties. The general rule, when multiple properties are involved, is that multiple lien claims would be necessary. However, when multiple properties are owned by the same party and when there's one contract to perform work on all of the properties, one lien claim may very well be sufficient. More on that idea here: Getting Paid on a Project with Multiple Properties. Keep in mind, though, that the actual filing of a lien claim may not be necessary - often, a Notice of Intent to Lien can be effective to force payment without ever having to file a lien. Because a mechanics lien is such a powerful, drastic remedy, the mere threat of a lien can compel payment. Plus, a Notice of Intent can be sent even when filing a lien claim might not be possible.