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Who can legally place property liens in Texas?
Property liens in Texas may be filed against an owner when they fail to pay a debt, possibly arising out of construction that was performed on the home. Anyone who is contracted to perform work, supply materials or provide services on the property may file a lien against the homeowner when payment is not fulfilled. This could include contractors, architects, engineers, suppliers and manufacturers.
Many contractors who provide home improvement or are hired to do construction on the property often hire subcontractors to assist them. The laws in Texas do not require that the primary contractor provide a preliminary notice before placing a lien. However, both the primary contractor and any subcontractor must file an “affidavit of lien” with the county clerk’s office no later than the fifteenth day of the fourth month when payment was due. For residential projects, the affidavit must be filed on the fifteenth day of the third month of the payment due date. The notice of affidavit must be sent by certified or registered mail to the owner within five days of filing it.
In some cases, a creditor may be able to file a lien against a property owner for non-payment of bills. In order to place a lien against real property, the plaintiff must file a lawsuit in the appropriate court. The Circuit or District Court Judge will hear arguments from both sides in order to determine if the debt is valid and the debtor has failed to live up to his or her financial obligation. If the creditor wins their suit, they can then file for a writ of judgment and execute a lien against the property.
A property owner can dispute the lien if the contractor is unlicensed or has allowed their license to lapse. The laws regarding property liens in Texas can become quite complicated and difficult to understand. If you are an owner facing a potential lien against your property, consulting with an experienced real estate attorney may help you find a solution and avoid a lien altogether.
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