What is Involved in Preparing and Filing a Lien?

The following steps are typically necessary in order to perfect a statutory lien under the Texas Property Code:

Prepare and Serve the Pre-Lien Notice Letter: If you were hired by anyone other than the property owner, before you can file a lien you must serve the owner and general contractor with a Pre-Lien Notice Letter in accordance with Texas Property Code Section 53.056.  Contained within the Pre-Lien Notice Letter you should include a demand for immediate payment and a threat that if payment is not made, that you will move forward with the filing of a lien.  A pre-lien notice letter should be sent by a construction lawyer on law firm letterhead to maximize your opportunity to enforce immediate payment. Click here to Serve A Pre-Lien Notice Letter.

Perform a Property Record Search: Texas Property Code Section 53.054(a)(6) requires the lien affidavit to contain a legally sufficient description of the property sought to be charged with a lien.  To ensure this requirement is fully satisfied, you should research the Texas Real Property Records and/or the County Appraisal District and obtain the actual legal description of the property.

Perform a Registered Agent Search: Although the Texas Property Code only requires the lien documents be served on the owner and contractor(s) at their last known address, you should locate their legal Registered Agent through the Texas Secretary of State and/or the Texas Comptroller and ensure that all legal documents are served on their proper legal representatives and placed in the right hands.

Prepare the Lien Affidavit: A lien is initiated by preparing and filing a “lien affidavit” in accordance with Texas Property Code Section 53.054.  The lien affidavit must include at a minimum the following information: a sworn statement of the amount owed; the name and last known address of the property owner; a general statement of the work performed and when it was performed; the name and last known address of the contractor who hired you; the name and last known address of the general contractor; a legal description of the property; your mailing and physical address; and a statement identifying when and how all pre-lien notices were sent.  The lien affidavit is signed before a notary by the person claiming the lien.  Click here to File A Lien.

File the Lien Affidavit: After you prepare the lien affidavit, you need to prepare a letter to the county clerk’s office to file the lien affidavit.  Send the letter, the lien affidavit, and the filing fee to the county clerk’s office where the property is located before the statutory deadline.

Serve the Filed Lien Affidavit and Send a Second Demand for Payment: Texas Property Code Section 53.055 requires the lien affidavit to be served on the property owner, the general contractor, and the first-tier subcontractor (if applicable) by certified mail within five days after it has been filed with the County Clerk’s Office.  In this notice letter, you should include another demand for payment with a representation that if payment is not immediately made you will move forward with filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the property and seek damages in the principal amount owed, plus interest on that amount, all incurred attorneys’ fees, and cost of suit.  This letter should be prepared and sent by a construction attorney on law firm letterhead to maximize the chances of getting paid.