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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We are an HVAC subcontractor and did work for a general who was working for a Texas independent school district. We have not been paid retainage. Most of the work was completed by September 2018. We had a little mixup on a change order. The general included it in their pay app for Septemeber or October. They added it to our pay app. We didn't know it was approved and completed the change order in December. We had one other follow up in January to reseal some units. So, am I within 90 days? Our work was done in December (or January). Our final billing was before the work was completed.

We are an HVAC subcontractor and did work for a general who was working for a Texas independent school district. We have not been paid retainage. Most of the work was completed by September 2018. We had a little mixup on a change order. The general included it in their pay app for Septemeber or October. They added it to our pay app. We didn't know it was approved and completed the change order in December. We had one other follow up in January to reseal some units. So, am I within 90 days? Our work was done in December (or January). Our final billing was before the work was completed.

TexasRight to Lien

We are an HVAC subcontractor in Texas. The work was for general contractor and the owner is a Texas school district.

1 reply

Mar 12, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've had trouble getting paid. First and foremost, it may be important to assess whether the right to lien is available when providing work for a school district. Generally, when the improved project property is owned by a public entity, the right to file a mechanics lien against that property won't be available. In those situations, a bond claim or a lien against the project funds might be more fruitful than a lien claim against the underlying real estate. If a mechanics lien against the property is not available, it would then be important to follow the applicable notice and claim requirements for public projects. You can learn more about those here: Texas Public Project FAQs. Regarding mechanics liens, note also that there are monthly notice requirements that, if not followed, could leave a claimant without the ability to file a mechanics lien. As for the lien deadline - the deadline to file a mechanics lien in Texas will depend on a few factors. First, for nonresidential projects, the deadline to file a mechanics lien is the 15th day of the 4th month after the month in which labor or materials were last furnished to the project. But, for projects residential in nature, the deadline to file a lien is shortened to the 15th day of the 3rd month following the claimant's last furnishing. Further yet - there's an additional deadline when a claim is regarding retainage. When retainage is being claimed, a Texas lien claimant must file their lien not later than 30 days after the whole project is completed, abandoned, or terminated. There are a few other factors that can affect this deadline as well - such as the filing of an affidavit of completion, the termination or abandonment of the original contract, or a written notice of demand. For more information about lien deadlines and notice requirements, this resource will be valuable: Texas Lien & Notice FAQs. As far as what work will trigger the deadline for filing a lien - this, too, can get complicated. Generally, the last furnishing date will refer to the date when the claimant last furnished substantial work to the project. This generally refers to the claimant's work that's set out under the contract, and mere warranty or punch list work typically won't work to extend the deadline to lien. At the same time, where properly executed, a change order will actually become part of the underlying contract, and work performed pursuant to a change order could work to extend the timeframe for filing a mechanics lien. This resource should contain helpful information: I Returned to a Job – Does that Change the Lien Deadlines?.
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