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Assisting Builders, Contractors, & Sub-Contractors Filing Mechanic’s Liens

Builders, including general contractors, subcontractors, and auto-mechanics, rely on payment for services rendered to timely complete the project. A delayed payment or nonpayment can severely affect the construction project and adversely impact your ability to effectively operate your business. In Houston, Galveston, and surrounding areas, there has been a growing trend in which homeowners (Hurricane Ike "Victims") refuse to pay the contract price once the projects are completed. The refusal of payments and delays caused numerous contractors to face financial hardships and cannot take on additional projects, which in turn further damage the contractor's ability to earn additional income. The Houston Construction Litigation Attorneys and the Houston Hurricane Insurance Claims Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham are currently assisting a number of general contractors to obtain payments from dead-beat homeowners. Please contact our Houston Construction Contract Lawyers and our Galveston Construction Litigation Attorneys for assistance.

If you are a builder, developer, a contracter, or a subcontractor who faces nonpayment or slow payment problems, you must know your rights in securing payment for the services and materials delivered. The Houston Mechanic’s Lien Attorneys and the West Houston Construction Lawyers will assist you in drafting a construction or sub-contractor’s service agreement, analyze and assess your rights and obligations, and to file mechanics’ or manterialmen’s liens, as well as to enforce your contractual rights.

Filing Materialmen's Liens (Mechanic's Liens)

Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code, section 53.021 states that persons who are laborers or who furnish materials for repair and construction can file mechanic’s liens. These include, but are not exclusive to:

  • Building or improving a home

  • Building or erecting embankments

  • Building railroads

  • Persons who furnish labor or materials based on the general contractor’s construction agreement with the owner

  • Architects, engineers, surveyors, landscapers, improvements or repairmen, and those who perform or provide materials for demolition

  • Auto mechanics may file liens against the title of the serviced vehicle

There are some limitations on the lien amount that can be imposed. A lien may only be imposed in the amount equal to the labor provided or equal to the amount of materials furnished. That is, the lien can only be the amount in which the owner or the general contractor owed, not the contract price. In addition, the lien must be perfected. To perfect the lien, the contractor or materialman must file an affidavit with the County Clerk of the county where the property is located. The affidavit must be filed within the 15th day after the third calendar month for a residential property and within the 15th day after the fourth month in which the indebtedness accrues. The date in which the indebtedness accrues is the last day of the month in which a written declaration stating the contract has been completed or terminated by the “general contractor,” the last day of the month in which the services was rendered or delivered by sub-contractors and other materialmen, or the last day of the month of delivery if the materials were specialized fabricated materials.

The affidavit must be sworn and notarized. It must also state specific name, last known address of the owner, specific allegations, and reasons why the contractor or materialman is entitled to the lien, name and last known address of the person employed the claimant if the claimant is not a general contractor, description of the specific material or labor, the claimant’s name, identification, and mailing address, the date and certificate of service in which the claimant provided notice to the owner and general contractor, and a copy of the contract. The notice of the lien must be sent NO later than the 15th day of the second month when the claimant’s labor is performed on behalf of the contractor; and to provide the owner the same notice no later than the 15th day after the third month in which labor performed or materials delivered. Please contact the Houston Materialmen's Lien Lawyers and the Harris County Mechanic's Lien Attorney of the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham for more information on the filing process.

If you are a subcontractor, within the notice to the owner, you may also file a demand letter and provide a copy to the general contractor. As stated above, the lien notice is necessary in perfecting the lien and must be timely filed as stated above. The notice and demand letter must be sent via certified mail with return receipt. Within 30 days from the date of receiving the demand letter, the general contractor must give the owner notice that he or she intends to dispute the claim. Under section 53.083 of the Texas Property Code, if the general contractor does not respond to the notice and demand letter within 30 days, then he or she is determined to have agreed to the demand, and the owner “shall” pay the claim. If the demand is disputed, the owner “shall” withhold the fund sufficient to pay for the lien until (1) either the date of filing the lien lapsed, or (2) after the lien claim has been satisfied, settled, or discharged.

The filing process of a mechanic, contractor, and materialmen’s lien can be confusing, complicated, and heavily dependent upon timely filing and responses. The Houston Mechanic’s Lien Attorneys and the Northchase Construction Contract Lawyers can assist you through this complicated process. To learn more about our attorneys and services, please feel free contact us at 713-517-6645 or through our online web inquiry.


Unless stated specifically, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The information above is NOT intended to replace a personal consultation with our Houston Construction Defect Litigation Lawyers and our Galveston Insurance Claims Attorneys. Readers should not construe the information as a consultation. Every case is unique and our Houston Mechanic's Liens Attorneys and our Galveston and Clear Lake Shores Construction Litigation Lawyers need to review the facts and circumstances of each individual case in order to provide a meaningful personal consultation. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645 or complete our Online Contact Form.