A lien is a legal claim to the property by someone other than the current owner. A lien can be placed for a variety of reasons, but it typically revolves around a debt of some kind. If a property owner owes a debt to a creditor, contractor, or collection agency, that party may place a court-ordered lien against the property with the goal of collecting on the debt.
Have you extended credit or provided a service of some kind that has not been fully paid? If so, you may have the right to put a lien on a property. There is a very specific process for placing a lien, so it helps to work with a real estate attorney. Here’s an overview of how to put a lien on a property.
Filing a Mechanics Lien
A mechanics lien is placed by a contractor who has provided a service of some kind to the property. This includes construction, plumbing, HVAC, landscaping, and any other contractor or subcontractor service. If you’ve performed a service of some kind and did not receive your payment in full, you have the right to file a mechanics lien under the right circumstances.
The first step to make sure you will have the ability to file a mechanics lien is to provide notification to the owner and other involved parties that you are beginning work. If you fail to provide this, you may not have the legal right to place a lien on the property if it becomes necessary later on.
The next step is to send an invoice to the owner requesting payment. If you don’t receive payment in full, you can then send a notice of intent to lien. This informs the property owner that if you do not receive full payment, you are prepared to place a lien on the property. Failure to do this may also forfeit your legal right to place a lien.
If you still don’t receive what you are owed, you can file a lien with the local court. It is especially helpful to have a lawyer handle this part of the process to ensure it is done properly. There are specific timelines as well that dictate when certain steps must be completed. Once the lien is officially filed, a copy must be sent to the property owner.
Be careful to keep up with the timeline of the lien so that you can extend it or cancel it as needed.
Filing a Judgement Lien
Another common type of lien is a judgment lien. This is typically filed by a creditor who is owed a debt in an attempt to collect on it. Contractors can also file a judgment lien if there were circumstances that made it impossible to file a mechanics lien.
The first step is to file a judgment lien with the clerk’s office of the county where the debtor currently owns the property. It helps to have a lawyer’s assistance with this step to ensure that all of the necessary paperwork is filed correctly.
A judgment lien remains attached to the property for 10 years in the state of Texas. This provides ample opportunity for the debtor to repay the debt.
Kelly Legal Group Can Assist with Lien Placement
Whether you’re a contractor or creditor, you deserve to be paid for your services. Filing a lien is one way to exercise your right to collect payment. Now that you have a general idea of how to put a lien on a property, it helps to have a real estate attorney working with you along the way to ensure you don’t miss any crucial legal steps that could prevent you from getting paid. Kelly Legal Group works with businesses of all kinds to provide legal assistance.