From pouring foundations to installing security systems, subcontractors are vital to the construction industry. The National Association of Home Builders reports that it takes an average of 22 subcontractors to build a typical single-family home in the U.S., and subcontracted work accounts for an average of 77% of construction costs.

Unfortunately, property owners and general contractors sometimes refuse or delay payment for work done. If you are a residential subcontractor in Texas, you may be able to secure money due by filing a mechanic’s lien. To do so, it is important to pay attention to state filing deadlines.

Send notice(s) of lien

In many cases, sending a notice that you intend to file a lien against a property is enough to resolve a payment issue. If you have a contract with the general contractor, you must send a written notice to the owner no later than the 15th day of the second month that follows each month in which you provided labor or materials.

If you do not have a contract, you should send this initial notice to the general contractor instead. If you do not receive payment, you must then send a second notice of lien to the property owner no later than the 15th day of the third month that follows each month in which you provided labor or materials.

File a lien affidavit

If invoices remain unpaid, the next step is to file an affidavit of lien. Whether you have a contract with the primary contractor or not, you should record the lien affidavit no later than the 15th day of the third month that follows the final day of the final month in which you provided materials or labor. If you do have a contract, you must also supply the general contractor with an affidavit copy within five days of filing. If you do not have a contract, you must send a copy to both the owner and the original contractor.

Bring a suit

Owners generally want to avoid having a lien on property, and often mechanic’s liens resolve without litigation. Unfortunately, in some cases, you may need to file a lawsuit to receive payment.