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Do I need to file a mechanics lien?

TexasConstruction ContractLawsuitMechanics LienPayment Disputes

Do I need to file a mechanics lien? Or do I need to do some other kind of contract agreement. I did some construction work on my friends house a couple years ago and he was going to pay me when he was able to get the money to do so. He has decided to sell his house and I want to make sure to protect myself for the monies owed to me and I was wondering if a mechanics lien could be filed so that the title doesn't get transferred until my bill is satisfied.

1 reply

Sep 12, 2017
While mechanics liens provide strong protection against nonpayment for construction work, there are very stringent rules and requirements that must be met in order to claim a valid and enforceable lien. Accordingly, in this situation it is likely that a mechanics lien may not be an applicable option for recovery and you may need to explore other options, like a lawsuit (potentially small claims depending on the size of the debt).

Usually, in order for a statutory mechanics lien to be applicable to a residential homestead property there needs to be a written contract with the property owner (signed by the owner and owner's spouse if married) which then needs to filed with the county recorder. Additionally, the lien must be filed by the 15th day of the 3rd calendar month after the day on which the debt accrued. Accordingly, it is unlikely that a statutory mechanics lien is the appropriate vehicle for recovery here.

Texas does, however, grant original contractors (contractors with a direct contract with the property owner) a constitutional mechanics lien in certain circumstances. This lien is self-perfecting, and therefore does not need to be filed. Since it is not filed, there is nothing that will prevent the sale of the property (there is no notice that the land is encumbered), but it could potentially help you recover the debt owed. In the event that you file a lawsuit to recover the amount due, it may be worth exploring the option of attempting to enforce a constitutional lien, as well as adding breach of contract or your other causes of action. It would be worth while to talk to an attorney in person so it could examined more fully.
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