If you were not hired by the Property Owner, or the Property Owner’s Agent, then before you can file a Lien, you must provide the Property Owner and the General Contractor with written notice of your claim. In Texas, this Notice is commonly referred to as a “Pre-Lien Notice,” “Preliminary Notice,” or an “Intent to File a Lien.” The Notice must be served (not filed with the County Clerk’s Office) on the Property Owner and General Contractor within the statutory deadline from when the labor/materials/ equipment were provided to the Property. Specific statutory language (required by the Texas Property Code) must be included in the Notice for it to be valid and to require the Property Owner to withhold construction funds from the General Contractor. Failure to serve the Notice by the statutory deadline (even by one day) will result in a waiver of the right to later file a Mechanics Lien against the Property.
Inside Tip 1
Every time you prepare/serve a Document in regard to your claim, (like a Pre-Lien Notice), consider using it as an opportunity to demand payment. Remember, you only have a limited number of opportunities to demand payment and you need to make the most out of all of them. Keep in mind, you are not required to file a Lien simply because you served a Pre-Lien Notice.
Inside Tip 2
For strategic reasons, General Contractors should consider sending a Pre-Lien Payment Demand Letter to the Property Owner, the Lender, and anyone else who may be affected by the filing of a Mechanics Lien, before actually filing the Mechanics Lien if you believe it will enforce payment. The Lien Professor’s Mechanics Lien Kit includes a Pre-Lien Payment Demand Letter specifically designed for this purpose. Click here to learn more about how to effectively use a Payment Demand Letter.