Construction Lien Law / Materialman’s Lien Law
All state have some form of statutory lien law for mechanics, artisans and materialmen that have, by their labor or material expended on improvements made on the land of another, increased the value of that land. Additionally, Texas is the only state that recognizes a Constitutional Lien, as well as the Statutory Lien.
Who May Claim A Lien?
Any person or legal entity that furnishes labor or material for the repair or construction of an improvement to real property is entitled to claim a lien on that real property.
There are many steps that a materialman needs to strictly follow in order to perfect a statutory lien. The timetables and notices required depend in large part on whether the materialman is the Original Contractor (having a direct contractual relationship with the property owner or the owner’s agent) or a Subcontractor (hired by the Original Contractor or another Subcontractor to do work on the job, without a direct contractual relationship to the property owner.) Since a Subcontractor’s lien is derived from the original contractor’s lien, they are called “derivative claimants”. It also depends upon whether the job is commercial, residential, or a government project.
The Texas Constitution (Article XVI, §37) provides for lien protection for mechanics, artisans and materialmen that have a direct contractual relationship with the owner of the property which is being repaired or improved. It does not help Subcontractors, only Original Contractors. The constitutional lien is automatic; it does not require any statutory notice or filing requirements to be binding on the owner. However, it may not be binding on a subsequent bona fide purchaser that buys the real property without notice of the lien, so filing the lien is strongly recommended.
Our firm may be able to assist you with enforcement of Materialman’s Liens on commercial projects; however, we do not handle enforcement in residential construction projects.
For more information on Contractor’s Claims in the Construction Law area, please see the attached Holloway’s Construction Reporter.