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Filing M&M Liens in Houston

When you perform work as a general contractor or subcontractor, you expect to be paid for the goods and services you provide to the property owner. Unfortunately, contracts and work orders are not always voluntarily honored and you must have a reliable method for obtaining payment. A materialman’s and mechanic’s lien (M&M lien) is a valuable tool you may be able to use to persuade the property owner to pay you the amount they contracted to pay. Wilhite & Associates, P.C. construction law attorneys are experienced in assisting clients with filing M&M Liens. Contact us for knowledgeable representation throughout Harris County including Houston, Northwest Houston, Champions, Spring, Tomball, Klein, the FM 1960 area, as well as The Woodlands and Conroe in Montgomery County.

Filing an M&M Lien

The debt for goods or services provided in relation to new improvements, remodeling, or repair of real estate attaches to the owner of the property on the last day of the month in which the original contract has been completed, finally settled, or abandoned. If the original contractor sends written notice that the contract for providing the goods or services has been terminated, then the debt attaches on the last day of the month in which the termination letter was sent.

Under the Texas Property Code, once the debt accrues, the contractor must file an affidavit with the county clerk of the county in which the property is located not later than fifteenth day of the fourth calendar month after the day on which the indebtedness accrues. The affidavit must comply with the requirements set out in the relevant statutes. Notice must be then given to the owner, or lessee, within a short period of time after the affidavit is filed with the county clerk. Subcontractors must also provide notice to the general contractor on the project that the affidavit has been filed.


The Texas Property Code requires the owner of the property on which the work is performed to retain either ten percent of a written contract price of the work to the owner of the property, or ten percent of the value of the work actually completed.

Subcontractor Rights

Under Texas law, a subcontractor is not entitled to a direct lien against the owner's property but must instead rely on his statutory, derivative rights to collect funds due by the owner to the contractor or to impose a lien on the property. Two statutes give subcontractors such rights: 1) the “Trapping Statute,” and 2) the “Retainage Statute.” The Trapping Statute states that when an owner receives proper notice that the original contractor has failed to pay funds owed on work done on the property, the owner may withhold payments to the contractor in an amount sufficient to cover the claim for which he received notice. If the owner pays any of the “trapped” funds to the contractor after receiving notice, the claimant may obtain a lien on the property to the extent of the money paid.

The Retainage Statute, as discussed above, provides that an owner under an original contract on which a materialman’s lien may be claimed is required to retain in his possession ten percent of the contract price, or ten percent of the value of the work, for 30 days after the work is completed. A claimant may then secure a lien on the retained funds if he provides the owner with proper notice under the statute and files an affidavit claiming a lien no later than the 30th day after the work was completed.

Lien Against a Lessee for Improvements Made

The fact that the debtor is a lessee of the property may pose a problem in perfecting an M&M lien. When contracting with a lessee, a materialman’s lien can only attach to the leasehold interest of the debtor. This means that the contractor cannot obtain a lien on the actual property, but only a lien on the lessee’s interest in the property. However, there are circumstances in which the lien may attach to the property itself.

Wilhite & Associates, P.C. | Houston Civil Litigation Lawyers

The process for properly filing and perfecting an M&M lien can be highly technical. Contact the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Wilhite & Associates, P.C. today to find out what rights you may have to file an M&M lien. Call (281) 537-2171 or provide us with information pertaining to your specific situation in our online form. Wilhite & Associates, P.C. handles M&M Lien’s matters in Houston or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Washington County, Grimes County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

Wilhite & Associates, P.C. represents clients from all over Southeast Texas, including:

Harris County - Aldine, Atascocita, Barrett, Barker, Baytown, Bellaire, Brownwood, Bunker Hill Village, Channelview, Clear Lake, Cloverleaf, Crosby, Cypress, Deer Park, East Houston, El Lago, Galena Park, Hedwig Village, Highlands, Hilshire Village, Houston, Hudson, Humble, Hunters Creek Village, Jacinto City, Jersey Village, Katy, Kingwood, Klein, La Porte, Louetta, Lynchburg, Nassau Bay, North Houston, Pasadena, Piney Point Village, Seabrook, Sheldon, Shoreacres, South Houston, Southside Place, Spring, Spring Valley, Taylor Lake Village, Tomball, Webster, West University Place

Montgomery County - Conroe, Cut and Shoot, Magnolia, Montgomery, Oak Ridge North, Panorama Village, Patton Village, Roman Forest, Shenandoah, Splendora, Stagecoach, Willis, Woodbranch, Woodloch, The Woodlands

Fort Bend County - Arcola, Beasley, Fairchilds, Fulshear, Kendleton, Meadows Place, Missouri City, Needville, Orchard, Pleak, Richmond, Rosenberg, Simonton, Stafford, Sugar Land, Thompsons

Waller County - Brookshire, Hempstead, Pattison, Pine Island, Prairie View, Waller

Grimes County - Anderson, Bedias, Iola, Navasota, Todd Mission

Washington County - Brenham, Burton, Chappell Hill

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This site is sponsored by George W. Wilhite, P.C. Our principal office is located in Harris County, Texas at 17101 Kuykendahl Rd., Houston, TX 77068.

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