If you want the best shot at getting paid – file a lien! Standing alone, a lien is the most effective means to payment. When you file a lien, you “encumber” the property. When you encumber the property, you create a problem for the owner and the general contractor – and that’s what will get you paid. For example, when you file a lien, it now becomes very difficult for the owner to obtain permanent financing, to refinance, or to sell the property. Most likely these are things that the owner wants to do – you have now made that very difficult. Additionally, if you are a subcontractor, by filing a lien you place a strain on the general contractor’s relationship with the owner; especially if the general contractor has already been paid and is wrongfully withholding payment or has used the funds to pay non-project related debts in violation of the Trust Fund Statute. If you provided labor or materials to the property, then you are entitled to file a lien against the property as long as all of the statutory pre-requisites and post-requisites are satisfied. That’s the law!
If you can afford to, you should always use a Texas construction lawyer to prepare your lien documents. You only have a limited number of opportunities to demand payment. Don’t waste them! Two such opportunities arise during the lien process: the pre-lien notice letter and service of the filed lien. You must use each of these opportunities to maximize your chances of recovery. When you use a construction lawyer, the owner and contractor will take you serious and that is what you want! By using a construction lawyer, you convey the message that you are in this to get paid and that you will not go away until you do! When you do it yourself the opposite is true. Owners and general contractors receive self-prepared demand letters and liens from contractors, subcontractor, and suppliers all of the time. They are used to it and they simply ignore them. Don’t make the mistake of falling into this crowd.
Additionally, the Texas lien laws are complex and can be very difficult to understand. Our courts strictly enforce these rules and any failure to comply with them may result in an invalid lien. When you use a Texas construction lawyer, you can rest assured that the legal documents have been properly prepared and timelyfiled/served in accordance with the Texas Property Code, and that is what you want!