The laws relating to mechanic's liens are very specific and quite extensive in the state of Texas. The Texas Property Code creates a statutory right to a mechanic's lien for people who are entitled to file one. Under the statutory mechanics's lien process, the lien must be timely and correctly filed and perfected or it will have no legal effect. In addition, the Texas constitution allows for a self-executing mechanic's lien that does not require the owner of the lien to file or perfect the lien.
Under the Texas constitution, a mechanic's lien covers the value of the labor done and/or material furnished. Under the constitution, the terms are construed in the broadest possible way. Under the Property Code, a mechanic's lien covers the labor done or material furnished for the construction or repair of improvements; any material specially fabricated for the project (even if that material was never delivered or incorporated into the construction project) less the fair salvage value of the material; and the preparation of plans or a plat by an architect, engineer, or surveyor, provided such was done under a written contract with the owner. Texas Property Code §53.023.
Who May Claim a Mechanic's Lien
Section 53.021 of the Texas Property Code specifically lists the people who are entitled to claim a mechanic's lien. This list encompasses almost anyone who provided labor, plans or materials--whether directly to the owner or as a subcontractor. A constitutional lien, on the other hand, restricts those entitled to a mechanic's lien to people who had a contract directly with the owner or owner's agent. A constitutional lien, therefore, does not allow subcontractors to claim a lien.
What Attaches to a Mechanic's Lien
A Texas mechanic's lien attaches to anything that was improved or enhanced by the labor or materials that are the subject of the lien. The lien can also extend to fixtures, improvements and the lot on which the house or building sits. If the person claiming the lien is a general contractor, the entire project attaches.
While the constitutional mechanic's lien is self-executing, and therefore not required to be filed or perfected, the statutory mechanic's line in Texas requires very precise timing and perfection. The precise requirements and timeline for filing and perfecting a statutory mechanic's lien can be found in the Texas Property Code Sections 53.052 through 53.058.