Texas
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

It's easy to file Texas mechanics liens with zlien, the web's leading all-in-one mechanics lien compliance manager and security platform. Plus, zlien's platform can help you prepare and file mechanics lien cancellations, preliminary notices, and more, including Texas' complicated Second Month and Third Month Notices. Texas is an Unpaid Balance state. To learn more about Texas's mechanics lien law, read the frequently asked questions below.

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Texas

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None

None

Texas

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
15th day of 4th month

Must be filed by 15th day of the 4th calendar month after the day on which the debt accrued (3rd month if the project is residential). For example, if non-residential work is performed and unpaid in January, the lien must be filed by May 15. The deadline to enforce the lien is 2 years after last available day to file the lien or 1 year from the completion of the work (whichever is later). For residential projects, the deadline is 1 year from the last available day to file the lien or 1 year from the completion of the work (whichever is later).

File your Texas lien online now.

Texas

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
15th day of 2nd month

For residential projects, notice is required to be sent to the owner and prime contractor by the 15th day of the 2nd month following the month that work was performed and unpaid. (Notice must be sent for each month work was performed and unpaid.)

For subcontractors on non-residential projects, the deadline is the 15th day of the 3rd month following each month work was performed and unpaid.

For Sub-Subcontractors, the deadline is both the 15th day of the 2nd month, and the 15th day of the 3rd month, following each month in which work was performed and unpaid.

Texas

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
15th day of 4th month

Must be filed by 15th day of the 4th calendar month after the day on which the debt accrued (3rd month if the project is residential). For example, if non-residential work is performed and unpaid in January, the lien must be filed by May 15. The deadline to enforce the lien is 2 years after last available day to file the lien or 1 year from the completion of the work (whichever is later). For residential projects, the deadline is 1 year from the last available day to file the lien or 1 year from the completion of the work (whichever is later).

File your Texas lien online now.

Texas

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
15th day of 2nd month

For residential projects, notice is required to be sent to the owner and prime contractor by the 15th day of the 2nd month following the month that work was performed and unpaid. (Notice must be sent for each month work was performed and unpaid.) For non-residential projects, the deadline is both the 15th day of the 2nd month, and the 15th day of the 3rd month, following each month in which work was performed and unpaid. (The 2nd month notice has to be sent only to the prime contractor.)

Texas

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
15th day of 4th month

Must be filed by 15th day of the 4th calendar month after the day on which the debt accrued (3rd month if the project is residential). For example, if non-residential work is performed and unpaid in January, the lien must be filed by May 15. The deadline to enforce the lien is 2 years after last available day to file the lien or 1 year from the completion of the work (whichever is later). For residential projects, the deadline is 1 year from the last available day to file the lien or 1 year from the completion of the work (whichever is later).

File your Texas lien online now.

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How to Get Paid in Texas With Mechanics Lien Rights

Free Step-By-Step Guide to Filing a Lien in Texas

How to Get Paid in Texas with Mechanics Liens

The added security of preliminary notices and lien rights makes the service invaluable.  

- Vollie Matthews -

Texas Frequently Asked Questions

Texas Mechanics Lien FAQs

The Texas property code outlines three overarching categories of parties who are entitled to claim a mechanics lien: 1) parties who furnish labor and/or material, 2) parties who specially fabricate materials, and 3) design professionals.

General contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers all have lien rights under the 1st category (there is no distinction in Texas law between subcontractors and suppliers in regard to lien and notice requirements). Some courts have held that the potential lien claimant must have substantially completed the contract in order to claim a lien in cases where the property owner is not in default.

Potential lien claimants who fabricate materials specially for a certain project have lien rights in Texas, as well. The lien rights mirror those of any other supplier except for the fact that, if the materials are not suitable for use in another project, the fabricator may claim a lien even if the materials are not delivered to or incorporated into the improvement – provided the required notices have been complied with.

Finally, design professionals are also entitled to lien rights in Texas.

Parties who contracted directly with the owner of the property in Texas are entitled to a “Constitutional Lien.” There are no notice requirements for a constitutional lien. However, if no notices are given, the lien is not valid against a third-party with no actual notice of the lien.

Generally speaking, in Texas, a mechanics lien must be filed by the 15th day of the 4th month after the month in which the lien claimant last furnished labor or material to the project. In order to also protect the lien claimant’s claim against the retainage at the same time, the lien should be filed within 30 days after the completion of the project (not claimant’s last furnishing). If the 15th day of the month by which the lien must be filed is a Sunday, the lien is required to be filed sooner – not later.

However, if the project is residential in nature, the lien is required to be filed 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.

Claims against retainage must be filed by the 15th day of the 4th month after the month in which the lien claimant last furnished labor or material to the project, (3rd month if a residential project) AND not later than 30 days after the entire project is completed, abandoned, or terminated. However, this date can be changed to any of the following: 1) the 40th day after the date stated in an affidavit of completion as the date of completion of the work under the original contract, if the owner sent the claimant notice of an affidavit of completion in the time and manner required; 2) the 40th day after the date of termination or abandonment of the original contract, if the owner sent the claimant a notice of such termination or abandonment in the time and manner required; or 3) the 30th day after the date the owner sent to the claimant to the claimant’s address provided in the notice for contractual retainage, a written notice of demand for the claimant to file the affidavit claiming a lien.

Yes. A copy of the lien affidavit must be sent to the property owner and the prime contractor not later than the 5th business day after the lien has been filed with the clerk. It is acceptable to send the notice to owner and prime contractor contemporaneously with, or before, the filing of the notice.

No, any amount unrelated to the value of the labor and/or materials furnished may not be included in the lien claim. However, legal fees and interest may be awarded to a successful lien claimant by the court.

The time in which an action to enforce a Texas mechanics lien must be initiated depends on the type of project.

For all non-residential property, an action to enforce the lien must be initiated by the later of either 1) 2 years after the last date on which the lien claimant could file his lien, or 2) 1 year after termination, completion, or abandonment or the project.

For residential property, an action to enforce the lien must be initiated by the later of either 1) 1 year after the last date on which the lien claimant could file his lien, or 2) 1 year after termination, completion, or abandonment of the project.

Generally, no. Texas mechanics liens have priority over other encumbrances on the property including construction loans and mortgages if the competing encumbrance is recorded after the commencement of any work on the project (after the “first spade of dirt is turned”).

However, the lien of a design professional (architect, engineer, surveyor) is only perfected on the date the lien is actually filed. Therefore, unless the design professional’s lien is filed prior to the beginning of any work on the project, it will be subsequent to any other mechanics liens.

As between competing mechanics liens, (except liens of design professionals, as described above) all have equal priority and will share pro-rata if the sale of the property is insufficient to satisfy all claims.

We wrote about the debate in Texas on mechanics lien priority in the following article: Battle in Texas over Mechanics Lien Priority Spins on the Relation-Back Doctrine.

This is tricky. Texas requires that the lien statement include a description of the property “legally sufficient for identification.” The determination of what constitutes such a description is complex. The Texas Supreme Court has held that a description of the property is sufficient when the description would “enable a party familiar with the locality to identify the premises intended to be described with reasonable certainty, to the exclusion of others.” While this rule has been followed by other Texas courts, it is not easy to apply such a rule in real-life, and not including a legal description would subject the lien claimant to a situation in which it is unclear until enforcement if the description provided is sufficient. Best practice would be to include at the minimum a lot and block number, in addition to the property address – and even better would be a full legal or metes and bounds description of the property.

Texas requires that the lien be verified by the oath of the person filing or some other person with knowledge of the facts.

Texas lien law imposes no special licensing requirements in addition to any licensing requirements otherwise required by the state. It is never advisable, however, to perform work for which a license is required without holding that license.

Yes. A mechanics lien may be filed against a condominium project in Texas to the extent you are a party otherwise allowed to file a mechanics lien.

When the lien is satisfied, the lien claimant is required to release the lien no later than the 10th day after the date a written request to release the lien is received. The property owner, the general contractor, or any other person making payment to the lien claimant may request the release of the lien.  Note this interesting case from a Texas appeals court about how the Release of One Mechanics Lien Does Not Prohibit Future Filings for Additional Work.

Texas changed their lien laws affecting lien waivers, and now statutorily mandates that all parties on a construction project use certain legislatively designed construction lien waiver forms. This state is one of only 11 states that requires this. If a contractor or owner asks you to use a lien waiver form that does not conform to the statutory form, the waiver will be invalid and the contractor could get in legal trouble. See this article: The 11 States with Statutory Lien Waiver Forms.

Also, Texas state law prohibits contractors and suppliers from waiving their right to file a mechanics lien in contract.

Oh yeah, you think that lien waivers are a formality?  Take a look at this Texas contractor who got burned by the state’s interpretation of the lien waiver requirements:  Lien Waivers Cost Zachry Construction Millions.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our Texas Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

Texas Preliminary Notice FAQs

Texas Preliminary Notice Requirements Pyramid

Yes, except for some circumstances.  The notice requirements in Texas are an absolute mess.  Here are 2 articles we wrote that may help you:

  1. Texas Notice Requirements:  What A Mess
  2. A Simple Explanation of Construction Notices To Help You Protect Lien Rights

The general contractor is generally not required to give any preliminary notice. However, on residential projects, the general contractor must give the owner a disclosure statement before signing the contract, and a written list of all the subs and suppliers intended to be used (updated periodically) unless the owner has specifically waived this requirement in writing (the waiver may be part of the original contract). Further, in order to obtain a lien on a homestead, the general contractor must execute and file with the county clerk a written contract setting forth the terms of the contract prior to the furnishing of labor and/or materials signed by both spouses if the owner is married.

Subcontractors/suppliers are required to send preliminary notices on all projects. Note that there are also special notice requirements for suppliers of specially fabricated materials, and for claims on contractual retainage.

In Texas, when you must send a preliminary notice depends a great deal on the project type and your tier in the project. The following chart is helpful in illustrating which exact notices must be sent:

Texas-Lien-Law-Chart

Here are some definitions that will help you understand the terminology used in the above chart:

Residential:  Projects for the construction or repair of a new or existing residence, including improvements appurtenant to the residence, as provided by a residential construction contract.

Non-Residential:  Projects that are not residential.

2nd Month Notice:  This is a notice that must be delivered no later than the 15th day of the second month following each month in which the lien claimant furnished labor or materials for which he is still unpaid. If the 15th is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the notice should be mailed prior to the 15th.

3rd Month Notice:  This is a notice that must be delivered no later than the 15th day of the third month following each month in which the lien claimant furnished labor or materials for which he is still unpaid. If the 15th is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the notice should be mailed prior to the 15th.

Retainage Notice: The notice requirements required for a valid claim on contractual retainage in Texas changed on 9/1/11. The requirements for contracts entered into after that date – notice must be mailed no later than the earlier of these dates: 1) 30 days after the date the claimant’s agreement providing for retain age is completed, terminated, or abandoned; or 2) the 30th day after the original contract is terminated or abandoned.

Specially Fabricated Materials Notice: Notice must be given no later than the 15th day of the second month following the month in which the lien claimant receives and accepts the order for materials. “Specially fabricated material” means material fabricated for use as a component of the construction or repair so as to be reasonably unsuitable for use elsewhere.

Failure to send the required preliminary notices on time in Texas may be fatal to the lien claim. If a supplier of specially fabricated materials misses the specially fabricated materials notice deadline, that lien claimant may not make a claim for any materials that were fabricated, but not delivered.

All preliminary notices (except contract regarding homestead) should be sent by registered or certified mail.

A contract for improvement to a homestead must be filed with the county clerk in the county in which the property is located, prior to the furnishing of labor and/or materials.

Yes. For homestead (read more about special homestead rules in Texas), the contract must be recorded with the clerk of the county in which the property is located. General contractors may give any preliminary notice required to the lender, as well as the owner. Subcontractors/suppliers must give the required notices to the general contractor as well as the property owner. Suppliers of specially fabricated materials must provide notice to both the owner and general contractor if they supply a subcontractor.

The preliminary notice is considered delivered when sent by certified or registered mail.