My company was hired to do quoted jobs for a restaurant opening. The jobs were done and the property owner is now refusing to pay.
Mar 14, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've gone unpaid - no one should have to scratch and claw just to be paid what they've already earned. Before getting too far along, it's worth noting that regardless of whether a mechanics lien might be an available or an effective option, the mere warning or threat of a TX mechanics lien claim has been known to compel payment in some situations. Where a lien filing might be on the table, typically, an owner will be willing to talk deal if it will prevent a lien filing from being made for the amounts owed and unpaid. We discuss that idea further, here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Further, before deciding to file a mechanics lien, it's also worth noting that there are strict deadlines and notice requirements that come into play for many Texas claimants. zlien discusses that here: Texas Lien & Notice FAQs. With all that being said, let's look at what type of work will give rise to mechanics lien claims. Generally, for lien rights to arise, work must be performed (or materials must be provided) which results in the permanent improvement of real property. Work that must take place regularly - like maintenance work - generally won't give rise to lien rights. However, providing work like installation of heavy equipment into the property could result in lien rights where that work is substantially attached to the underlying property (i.e. "permanent"). Looking to the Texas Property Code itself should help some. Under § 53-021 of the Texas Property Code, a person has a lien if they labor, specially fabricate material, or furnish labor or materials for construction or repair of a house, building, or improvement - among some other activities. Further, "labor" refers to "labor used in the direct prosecution of the work". "Material" refers to "the material, machinery, fixtures, or tools incorporated into the work, consumed in the direct prosecution of the work, or ordered and delivered for incorporation or consumption" (among some other activities and supplies). And finally, "work" refers to "any part of construction or repair performed under an original contract". Thus, when a party has performed construction or repairs under contract, when labor has been exerted to fulfil that contract, and when material, machinery, fixtures, or tools were incorporated into the work - as long as the overall project results in the permanent improvement in property, it will generally give rise to lien rights. For more background on what work might qualify for lien rights in Texas, the zlien Payment Rights Advisor might be a good resource.