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TX Lien Deadline - General Contractor

TexasMechanics Lien

We are the General Contractor on a private commercial project in TX. I am not finding clear information on deadline for us to file our lien. 15th day of 4th month following last providing, which includes punchlist and change order work?? So if done the 6th of July, we have to have recorded by 11-15-18? Also, are liquidated damages being held on us that we are disputing to be included in our value as well as change orders not yet provided for work completed?

1 reply

Jul 13, 2018
Texas is truly a mess when it comes to lien and notice deadlines - and the Texas Property Code doesn't really provide much help. Under § 53-052, the deadline to file a lien is "...not later than the 15th day of the fourth calendar month after the day on which the indebtedness accrues." The next section helps to define when exactly indebtedness accrues. Under § 53-053(b), "Indebtedness to an original contractor accrues: (1) on the last day of the month in which a written declaration by the original contractor or the owner is received by the other party to the original contract stating that the original contract has been terminated; or (2) on the last day of the month in which the original contract has been completed, finally settled, or abandoned." Putting that all together: a lien must be filed not later than the 15th day of the fourth month after either (1) the last day of the month during which the original contract is terminated, or (2) the last day of the month in which the original contract is completed, settled, or abandoned. Admittedly, that "15th day of the fourth month..." language can still be nauseating. However, zlien has produced some content to help navigate it. For clarification, you can download the 2018 Texas Lien Deadline Calendar for free, or utilize the Lien Deadline Calculator (also free!). Regarding other amounts potentially being included in a lien filing - any amount unrelated to the value of the labor and/or materials furnished may not be included in the lien claim. Including change orders that have not been validly submitted (according to the contract) could create some dispute. But under § 53-023 of the Texas Property Code: "The lien secures payment for: (1) the labor done or material furnished for the construction or repair; (2) the specially fabricated material, even if the material has not been delivered or incorporated into the construction or repair, less its fair salvage value; or (3) the preparation of a plan or plat by an architect, engineer, or surveyor in accordance with Section 53.021(c)." Other than the definition of "Completion" ("the actual completion of the work, including any extras or change orders reasonably required or contemplated under the original contract, other than warranty work or replacement or repair of the work performed under the contract"), the Texas Property code doesn't discuss change orders. Ultimately, though, whether or not to include change orders will be at the discretion of the claimant.
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