New Braunfels Mechanic's Lien Attorney
Mechanic's Liens and Materialman's Liens in Texas
The Texas Supreme Court has consistently instructed judges to construe Chapter 53 of the Property Code liberally in favor of mechanic's lien filers, but this directive does not apply to the highly technical rules regarding content and deadlines. Compliance is very much a two-edged sword: strict attention to detail often means an ironclad means of guaranteeing payment, while any error undoes the entire proposition. In other words, these liens are very beneficial for contractors or suppliers when they have not been paid, and they are very damaging to property owners.
The conscientious team at The Bettersworth Law Firm does not overlook any detail when it comes to your legal and financial interests. We take as much time as necessary to do things right the first time. Our normal approach is to have at least two people review a file, to minimize the risk of accidental errors. In this way, we also give our clients peace of mind because they know that we are fully engaged in their legal matters.
Filing a Mechanic's Lien
Generally, mechanic's liens must be filed by the 15th day of the fourth month following the furnishing of labor or materials. Since most businesses offer about 90 days to pay in the normal course of business, the roughly 155-day window is extremely narrow. So, it is vitally important that the lien be filed properly the first time because there typically is no second chance. Other specific requirements include:
- A "legally sufficient" description, which typically means the lot/block legal description,
- An oath made by someone with personal knowledge of the facts, and
- A lien waiver.
The complicated filing requirements are also fertile ground for legal defenses. If there was any missed deadline or there is any missing information, an attorney with specific experience in these matters quickly spots the defect. Additionally, there are precise requirements as to the filing and perfection of mechanic's liens, and in a similar fashion, noncompliance may render the lien unenforceable.
Additionally, many liens are fraudulent, either in whole or in part, and a fraudulent lien is always invalid. There are four elements to this claim:
- Actual knowledge that either the document, or the record it relies on, is fraudulent,
- Intent that the fraudulent document be given legal force and effect,
- Intent to cause physical injury, financial injury, or mental anguish, and
- Intent to defraud.
If this defense is successful, the fraudulent filer must pay actual damages or $10,000, whichever is greater, plus court costs, attorneys' fees, and any exemplary damages.
To protect your business with, or from, a mechanic's lien, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404 for a free consultation. After hours appointments are available.