Making sure your rights are protected when you don't get paid on the construction jobsite.
What to do before you start any job!
Before you start any construction project of any size, you should always know who all the players involved are on the jobsite. If you are the contractor, know who the owner of the property is. If they person hiring you is a rentor, make sure you have the owner's consent as well as written approval to do the work on their property. Make sure you have a written contract detailing at a minimum, the scope of work, the price, and everyone's signatures!
If you are the subcontractor, know what the contractor should know (see above) as well as all of the contractor's contact information. Make sure you have a written contract detailing at a minimum...!
If you are a third or more tier (subcontractor working for a subcontractor) subcontractor, make sure you have all of the information listed above as well as all of the contact information for all of the tiers between you and the contractor.
What to do when you have done the work
As soon as you have done the work, send an invoice and a letter to all of the tiers above you as well as the owner that you have completed the work and are owed money. State the specific amount owed. Send the letter certified mail with return receipt requested so that you can prove you sent everyone notice. SEND THIS AS SOON AS YOU ARE DONE!
Deadlines to file Materialman and Mechanic's Liens (M&M liens)
M&M liens have very strict deadlines and so they must be filed within those deadlines in order to be a valid lien. The time to file a lien begins from the last time you perform work or deliver materials to the jobsite. If you are a contractor and the owner has failed to pay you, you have until the 15th day of the third month to file a lien against the property. If you are a second tier or higher subcontractor, you have until the 15th day of the fourth month to file the lien against owners of the property. It is strongly urged that you consult with an attorney.
Sending notice of M&M liens
The Texas Property Code has very strict deadlines for giving notice of filed M&M liens. These notice requirements must be understood in order for a lien to be upheld as a valid lien against the property. It is strongly urged that you consult with an attorney.
Deadline to sue
A lawsuit involving a failure to pay a subcontractor on a construction jobsite generally involves a breach of contract lawsuit. The statute of limitations on a breach of contract is 4 years.
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