Briefcase: When Can Contractors File A Lien Against Your Home?

Guest: Professor Ryan Marquez


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Almost every year in Houston, there seems to be a major storm that causes extensive property damage. Ryan Marquez, with the University of Houston Law Center, teaches in the consumer law clinic. He explains what homeowners should be aware of when having their home repaired.

"When a contractor provides labor or materials for the renovation or repair of a house, they are entitled to a lien on the home if they comply with the requirements under Texas law," Professor Marquez said. "Normally, to get a lien on a home that is the owner's residence, the contractor must execute a written contract with all the owners of the home, prior to the commencement of the work."

What happens if the contractor is not paid for the work performed? "A contractor has the right to foreclose on the lien," Marquez continued. "This means that the contractor can start a judicial action to sell the home. It must be started within one year of the completion, abandonment, or termination of the work on the home or the statutory lien filing deadline has passed, whichever is later."

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