Collecting in Texas

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Meier, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I bumped into another LCO who is storing in the same storage place as me. We got to talking and both realized that deadbeats are killing both of us.

    He has successfully filed and collected via the mechanic's lien. He installed a landscape and didn't get paid. He was out $2,600.00. Finally, he hired an attorney who wrote the mechanic's lien for about a hundred bucks and he drove it to Denton and filed it with the county. The problem is, he was late in filing this lien. Because he had missed the deadline, the lien wasn't valid and he knew that. But he filed it anyway in hopes that he would be able to collect.

    The home went up for sale. He was licking his chops...payday at last. He was surprised when he drove by a few weeks later and the home had been sold. He called the real estate agent and tracked down the title company. He said "Didn't you guys see my lien? Didn't you guys do a title search?" The title company basically admitted that they don't always do title searches. He told the title company that if they didn't get him a check for $2,600.00 within 24 hours he would notify the buyer that they had just bought a $2,600.00 mechanic's lien.

    He had a check for $2,600.00 the next day.

    I think the moral of the story is this:

    Anyone can file a mechanic's lien, even if they don't have a right to do so. You don't have to prove anything in order to file the document with the county. In Texas, you don't have to back up the mechanic's lien with a subsequent judgement.

    If a home owner wants to sell his house and he knows damn good and well that he stiffed the lawn guy and finds that there is a mechanic's lien preventing the pending sale, what do you think the homeowner would do? Would he hire an attorney for $170 an hour and hope that he could get the $300 mechanic's lien reversed, then come after the LCO for the attorney's fees he had to pay? Or would he just cough up the $300 to avoid jeopardizing the $150K sale?

    I think it may be a chance worth taking.

    Any thoughts?

    DFW Area Landcaper
  2. Hodge

    Hodge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 261

    I believe Just Mow It files these type of liens. According to the stature:

    (b) The construction or materials under Subsection (a) must
    be visible from inspection of the land on which the improvements are
    being made.
    (c) An owner and original contractor may jointly file an
    affidavit of commencement with the county clerk of the county in
    which the land is located not later than the 30th day after the date
    of actual commencement of construction of the improvements or
    delivery of materials to the land. The affidavit must contain:
    (1) the name and address of the owner;
    (2) the name and address of each original contractor,
    known at the time to the owner, that is furnishing labor, service,
    or materials for the construction of the improvements;
    (3) a description, legally sufficient for
    identification, of the property being improved;
    (4) the date the work actually commenced; and
    (5) a general description of the improvement.
    (d) An affidavit filed in compliance with this section is
    prima facie evidence of the date of the commencement of the
    improvement described in the affidavit. The time of inception of a
    mechanic's lien arising from work described in an affidavit of
    commencement is the date of commencement of the work stated in the

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