Understanding what a mechanics lien does is pretty straightforward: a mechanics lien provides a security interest in the title of a property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials to improve that property.
“Improving the property” typically entails some sort of construction project, and “those who have supplied labor or materials” is just a fancy term for a general contractor, subcontractor, material supplier, equipment rental company, or some other construction industry entity that participated on the project in question.
No, the difficult part of lien rights management is not in understanding what a mechanics lien is, or even how it works. The difficult part about lien rights is navigating the complicated and complex process, successfully managing all of the different requirements, rules, and deadlines that must be met in order to keep those rights in place and intact.
Lien laws vary from state-to-state. Just as there are 50 states in the country, so too are there 50 different sets of mechanics lien laws. This means that a preliminary notice requirement in say, California, may not be necessary in another state, like Florida for example.
Further complicating matters is the fact that, not only are each state’s laws different, sometimes a state’s lien laws aren’t exactly crystal clear.
Case in point: the great state of Texas. Here at zlien, Texas construction companies ask us all the time: “are lien exhibits necessary to file a mechanics lien on a construction project in Texas?”
Technically, including exhibits in a Texas mechanics lien filing is optional. According to Texas statute:
“The claimant may attach to the affidavit a copy of any applicable written agreement or contract and a copy of each notice sent to the owner.”
Optional to Include vs. Should Include
However, while including exhibits is optional and is not explicitly required, this is one of those cases where including exhibits to support your lien claim is probably a good idea. In fact, the more relevant exhibits you include, potentially the more “proof” of the validity of your claim is presented.
We advise our customers that relevant Texas lien exhibits might include any of the following:
- A copy of your written contract
- Any invoices or work orders relevant to your work on this project
- Any notices sent by you to the owner or general contractor
(this can include a Notice of Intent to Lien, preliminary notices, etc.)
By attaching this type of documentation to the lien claim, pre-emptive proof of the validity of the debt is contained with the lien filling. This should make it more difficult for the lien claim to be disputed.
A word of caution, however: while parties may want to include all sorts of documents with their lien claims (after all, if some supporting exhibits is good – more supporting exhibits must be better, right?), too many excessive pages may rack up the cost to record your lien. Many counties will accept exhibits that are displayed two to even four pages on one sheet of paper (see example below). However, it is important to call and confirm that the county recording your mechanics lien will accept this type of submission.
To prevent confusion, be sure to clearly and correctly label your exhibits – i.e. Exhibit A, Exhibit B, etc. – as shown above.
Check out our definitive Texas Lien Exhibits Checklist (below) for reference. For more information about managing project payments in Texas, we’ve got a bunch of helpful articles for you to read on the zlien blog.
Don’t Mess With Texas…Mechanics Liens!
Getting paid on a construction project is serious business. We’ve got some great resources to help. Download our free guide, “How to File a Texas Mechanics Lien,” and you can always get in touch with us.
There’s nothing more important than getting paid, and zlien is here to help.