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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We are a landscaping company that serviced an individual homeowner as part of a courtesy to our regular customer, his HOA. His home is for sale and he has moved to another city. Can we file a lien against his home for services rendered? If we can and do, does he have a case to sue us if we stop a sale of his home? We have invoiced, emailed, left voice messages and sent a certified letter indicating we would file a lien if he did not communicate regarding payment.

We are a landscaping company that serviced an individual homeowner as part of a courtesy to our regular customer, his HOA. His home is for sale and he has moved to another city. Can we file a lien against his home for services rendered? If we can and do, does he have a case to sue us if we stop a sale of his home? We have invoiced, emailed, left voice messages and sent a certified letter indicating we would file a lien if he did not communicate regarding payment.

TexasRight to Lien

We are a landscaping company that serviced an individual homeowner as part of a courtesy to our regular customer, his HOA. His home is for sale and he has moved to another city. Can we file a lien against his home for services rendered? If we can and do, does he have a case to sue us if we stop a sale of his home? We have invoiced, emailed, left voice messages and sent a certified letter indicating we would file a lien if he did not communicate regarding payment.

1 reply

Aug 16, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. Before getting too far into the weeds, let's set a baseline: If a party is entitled to file a lien for work performed and unpaid and that party files a valid lien claim (abiding by all necessary deadlines and requirements) - a claimant will not be liable for damages as a result of that lien filing. Of course, if the claimant is not entitled to lien, or if the lien is invalid for some reason, liability might come into play. Anyway, some key considerations here will likely be: 1. Do Texas landscapers have the right to file a lien? 2. Have the necessary notices been sent/requirements been met? and 3. Has the deadline to lien passed? Let's look at these individually. Many states do no allow for landscapers to file mechanics liens, but Texas appears to allow for such filings. Under § 53-021(d) of the Texas Property Code (titled "Persons Entitled to Lien"), those who provide labor, materials, or other suppliers for the installation of landscaping are entitled to file a mechanics lien. Next, it's important to assess whether notices are required (and if so, whether they were sent) and if any other special requirements may apply. Whether notice was required will depend on the party who hired the lien claimant. If the lien claimant was hired directly by the property owner, no notice is necessary. If the lien claimant was hired by someone other than the property owner, monthly notice was likely required - and you can learn more about that here: Texas Monthly Notices. Further, when a property is residential, extra requirements may apply. For one, a Residential Disclosure Notice is likely required in order to file a valid mechanics lien. Further, if the property is considered Homestead property, then extra requirements are present in order to file a mechanics lien (more on those here: Texas Mechanics Lien on Homestead Property: Everything You Need to Know). Finally, let's talk lien deadlines. In Texas, the deadline to file a mechanics lien on residential property is no later than the 15th day of the 3rd month following the month in which the lien claimant last furnished labor and/or materials to the project. The Texas lien and notice requirements can be overwhelming, but if they're tracked from the start of the job, things get a lot easier. If filing a mechanics lien is not a valid option, or if a claimant is simply not quite ready, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien often goes a long way to compel payment. It's a document that states, if payment isn't made soon, a lien will be filed. Considering the drastic nature of mechanics liens, many parties will not be willing to call the bluff of a potential lien claimant. This is especially true when a filed lien would disrupt the planned sale of a house. What's more, if that notice is ignored, a claimant can proceed to file their claim or pursue some other method of recovery. Finally, in a situation where a mechanics lien may not be an available option, a claimant can allways pursue some other remedy - such as a threat of lawsuit, an actual lawsuit, or small claims court.
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