Design Lien Rights Austin. The state of Texas now has new laws regarding liens that cover all construction projects with a prime contract that is dated either on or after January 1, 2022. These laws are seen as being especially helpful to professionals such as surveyors, architects, and engineers, and even design professionals will be able to take advantage of the expanded lien rights that this legislation provides, as lower-tier design professionals will now have the ability to perfect liens in a manner that is similar to both suppliers and subcontractors. Additionally, the new law also expands the actual type of design work that results in lien rights.

There are a couple of important changes to keep in mind regarding this. The first is that many different design professions previously were only able to file a lien in the event that they had direct contracts with either the owner or the owner’s agent. Thanks to this new law, that limitation no longer applies, and a direct contractual relationship with the owner is no longer required as well. What this essentially means is that downstream engineers and architects will now be able to file liens just like professionals such as suppliers and subcontractors.

The second is that the lienable service of design professionals under the previous statute had been previously limited to preparing a “plan or plat.” Thanks to the new law, lienable labor now includes “professional service used in the direct preparation for the work of a design, drawing, plan, plat, survey, or specification.” These Chapter 53 changes now entitle design professionals to many lien rights regardless of whether their contract is with any of the following professionals:

  • Subcontractor
  • General contractor
  • Owner

Design Lien Rights Austin. Essentially, this means that professionals such as surveyors, engineers, and architects are now in the same category as everyone else; however, downstream design professionals such as suppliers and subcontractors, will be required to issue pre-lien notices. The good news, on the other hand, is that this new legislation will also ease the process involving this, as there will no longer be a second month notice requirement for those parties who are subcontractors, as well as suppliers who deal with subcontractors and other downstream design professionals. As a result of the new legislation, the statute only requires the third month notice, which is required to be sent by day 15 following the third month once labor has been provided. This change also doesn’t prohibit sending a second month notice or sending the third month notice early, but instead removing a hurdle that had been impeding the overall perfection of lien rights. The law now provided a much clearer example of what notice forms need to look like in terms of unpaid labor and materials, as well as contractual retainage.

If you need legal advice, skilled construction attorney Brad Reeves can help. At Reeves Law, the experienced legal team understands the complexities of contruction legal processes, and is committed to using their expertise to help you reach the best outcome in your case. If you have questions about how to proceed, contact Reeves Law for a free consultation.