Hi - can I require my contractor to sign a lien waiver as a condition of final even if it’s not written in the construction contract as a stipulation?
Jun 29, 2020
Here is the statutory language that answers your question for privately funded construction projects:
(a) When a debt for labor or materials is satisfied or paid by collected funds, the person who furnished the labor or materials shall, not later than the 10th day after the date of receipt of a written request, furnish to the requesting person a release of the indebtedness and any lien claimed, to the extent of the indebtedness paid. An owner, the original contractor, or any person making the payment may request the release.
(b) A release of lien must be in a form that would permit it to be filed of record.
Tex. Prop. Code Chapter 53.152.
In short, if your contract is silent as to the order in which the lien release is granted, the law requires the contractor/subcontractor to provide a lien release upon request within ten days. However, the duty to provide the release is not triggered until payment is actually issued. Now, you could request a conditional lien release prior to payment being issued on the front end, but you don't want to find yourself withholding payment in excess of the time allotted by the Texas Prompt Payment Act.
Have you signed a contract? If not, put it in it. If the work is already started, he should be willing to do so since once he is paid in full, he has no lien rights against you, although a failure by him to pay his subcontractors and suppliers may put them in a position to lien you.