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Do we need to have all individual 16 condo unit owners sign our paperwork for the lien process to work?

TexasConstruction ContractMechanics LienRight to Lien

Good Morning. We recently started a water damage job in a building that used to be an apartment complex, but has since been converted into condos. The building is named The Residences At The Highland with an address of 5656 N. Central Expressway. I would imagine that the building has an HOA that is responsible for the common areas, but 16 units were affected as well(8 floors). We were hired by the company that caused the water damage.

1 reply

Jan 28, 2019
That's a great question, and kudos for asking about this before the work is performed. All too often, questions about how condominium work might affect lien rights are asked late in the game, after the work has already been done.

Condominiums are tricky when it comes to lien rights. In order for lien rights to arise, the work giving rise to those rights must be authorized by the owner of the property - typically, via a contract with the owner (or some other party acting properly on behalf of the owner). Very typically, individual condominiums are divided up in the property record, and each one is to be treated as if it were it's own completely separate property. Thus, generally, where work will be performed on an individual condominium unit, the safest way to proceed is typically to contract in a way that shows work is authorized by the owner of each unit where work will be performed - whether that's one contract where separate owners agree to work or a separate contract with each owner.

It's also worth noting that, depending on the use of the unit, any given unit might be considered residential property (and in Texas, the rules surrounding liens and notices change a bit for residential properties). Under § 53-001(8) of the Texas Property Code, a "residence" includes "a unit in a multiunit structure used for residential purposes that is: (A) owned by one or more adult persons; and (B) used or intended to be used as a dwelling by one of the owners." Even further, where residential property is in play, that residence might potentially be considered a "homestead" as well - which could require the signature of both the owner and their spouse, as well as the recording of the contract.

For more background on Texas' lien and notice rules, including those that pertain to residential properties, this resource should be helpful: Texas Lien & Notice FAQs.

For more on homesteads, this article should help identify the additional requirements: Texas Mechanics Lien on Homestead Property: Everything You Need to Know.
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