The 2021 Texas Legislature made significant changes to Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code (the “Texas Mechanic’s Lien Statute”) which governs mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens. Effective January 1, 2022, House Bill 2237 amends the Texas Mechanic’s Lien Statute in several significant aspects.
Architect, Engineer, and Surveyor Lien Rights Expanded
HB 2237 expands the group of architects, engineers, and surveyors that can file a lien against a project in Texas. Under the current Texas Mechanic’s Lien Statute, architects, engineers, and surveyors could assert a lien for work performed on a project only if the work was performed pursuant to a written contract with the owner. HB 2237 eliminates the requirement that such persons must contract directly with the owner in order to have a lien.
HB 2237 expands the definition of “Improvement” to include additional aspects of a Construction Law Attorney Dallas project. Improvements now include designs, drawings, plans, plats, surveys, and specifications created in connection with a construction project and grant lien rights to persons who perform such work regardless of whether or not the person has a direct contract with the owner.
Deadline to Foreclose a Lien Shortened
Under the new Texas Mechanic’s Lien Statute, the deadline for filing suit to foreclose on a lien for commercial projects is changed from two years to one year from the last day a lien claimant could timely file a lien. The one-year period to foreclose can be extended if the claimant and the owner agree to do so in writing and the agreement is recorded in the property records in the county where the property is located.
Affidavits of Completion Eliminated
Previously, owners could shorten the time frame for filing a lien to forty days after completion of the project by recording an affidavit of completion. HB 2237 eliminates the ability of owners to do so. As a result, the deadlines set forth in Section 53.052 of the Texas Mechanic’s Lien Statute now control under all circumstances.
While HB 2237 provides clarity with respect to certain provisions of Texas construction lien laws, the basic statutory scheme remains the same, and lien claimants (and those against whom liens are filed) are well-advised to seek legal counsel to ensure compliance with the still complex Texas Mechanic’s Lien Statute.