Wood Edwards LLP can help you protect your payment rights both before and after payment problems arise.
Protecting yourself before problems arise
There is nothing worse than doing work and not getting paid. The best practice on construction projects is to prepare for a payment problem before it arises. That means having an attorney review your construction contracts or purchase orders before you sign them. This prevents unpleasant surprises that interfere with your payment rights. Once you have contracts or purchase orders in place with reasonable terms, it is important to take additional steps before work starts so that you can act quickly under your legal deadlines if a payment problem arises. Important steps include the following:
- verifying whether the project is publicly or privately owned;
- verifying who the property owner is;
- verifying who the prime contractor is; and
- obtaining copies of any payment bonds for the project.
Protecting yourself after problems arise
Texas law provides payment protections on privately-owned projects in the form of mechanic’s liens. Lien rights are available to contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, landscapers installing new landscaping, and design professions. Preserving those rights requires compliance with specific notice requirements and legal deadlines.
Payment Bond Claims
On public works projects, Texas law requires prime contractors to obtain payment bonds if the contract amount is over a certain dollar amount. Payment bonds are insurance to make sure subcontractors and suppliers get paid if the prime contractor defaults. Like lien rights, payment bond rights are only preserved by giving proper notices within legal deadlines.
Enforcing Your Payment Claims
It is important to understand all of your options when faced with a payment problem on a construction project, including which parties you have the legal right to collect from and which tools you have available to enforce your payment claim. Our team is ready to help you enforce your legal rights, whether through a lien claim, bond claim, or through litigation.