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right to lien and notices

Texas

We were the electrical contractors on PF Chang in Waco Texas. We live in Shreveport, La. The last day worked was October 30, 2018. We sent our last invoice for remainder of contract on 12/19/2018 for 18, 000.00. They also owed for another invoice that were sent out on 9/24/2018 and 10/25/2018 that totaled 21, 058.50. We have signed the release for the money, (21,058.50)but they are wanting additional release from our subs that we have already sent them. We have not signed anything on the 18, 000.00. I faxed a intent to lein just to the contractor but I dont think the property owner was correct ( I have the correct info now). They are not returning our calls since they got the fax. I am needing to know what are our lein rights? What form do I need to send. What are my options.

1 reply

Feb 6, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about that - it's incredibly frustrating when someone neglects to pay their debts. Before digging in, it's worth mentioning that while I'm not able to provide legal advice on how to handle this issue, I am able to provide some information that should be helpful in deciding how to move forward. Anyway, first - the mechanics lien laws of the location where work was performed will be the ones that apply to any given payment dispute. Thus, where work was performed in Texas, the Texas Property Code will apply. Of course, Texas is notorious for having the most complex (and annoying) lien and notice laws in the country - and you can find a breakdown of those here: Texas Lien & Notice FAQs. First, when a party was hired by someone other than the property owner for a Texas construction job, there are certain monthly notices that must be sent in order to preserve the right to lien. For commercial jobs, parties hired by the prime contractor, a 3rd month notice must be sent to the owner and the prime. For parties hired by someone other than the prime contractor on commercial jobs, both a 2nd month notice (to the prime) and a 3rd month notice (to both the prime and the owner) must be sent in order to preserve the right to lien. When these monthly notices are required but not sent, the prospective claimant will typically lose their right to file a mechanics lien. Still, the mere threat of a mechanics lien (with a document such as a Notice of Intent to Lien) can go a long way toward compelling payment. As hinted at in the question above, then a Notice of Intent to Lien is sent to the owner as well as the contractor, a claimant will typically obtain a lot more leverage. Naturally, owners are typically much more wary of lien claims - so when an owner knows that a lien might be filed, they'll often put pressure on their prime contractor to resolve the issue. Where a mere threat of lien claim isn't enough to compel payment, sometimes, filing a lien might become necessary - if the right to file a lien persists. Note that flawed mechanics liens may still be filed, and they could also lead to payment. However, at the same time, improperly filed liens can often lead to further legal dispute, and if a filed lien claim amounts to a fraudulent lien, then even more headaches might be afoot. Outside of the mechanics lien process, there are other tools out there that could lead to payment. For one, Texas has prompt payment laws that require payments be made according to statutory timeframes - so making a claim under those laws could be an option. Further, filing suit over claims like breach of contract or unjust enrichment might be an option too, among others. Plus, much like with mechanics liens, threats to take legal action (like prompt payment, breach of contract, or unjust enrichment claims) could go a long way to compel payment - especially when sent via an attorney.
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