Have you ever gotten into a job and started hearing some bad rumors; such as, you might not get paid for your work? Or the GC on this job doesn’t pay retainage? Well a couple years ago I wrote this article: Are you going to get paid ask a construction Lawyer to show that Attorneys can be used pro-actively instead of re-actively (which is the more expensive way). I’d like do a quick overview of something you can do yourself to pro-actively protect your business from trouble. Specifically, you can do your own research to determine if the person you are working for is having liens being filed against them currently.
As you might know, almost all larger counties have an online database you can search for deed records. However, you might not know that those same databases keep track of the lien affidavit filings as well. Here are links to the research databases around the DFW area:
Denton County Deed Record Search: https://www.dentoncounty.com/dept/county_clerk/recordsearch.asp
Dallas County Deed Record Search: http://roamdallaspropertyrecords.com/ailis/search.do
Tarrant County Deed Record Search: https://ccrecordse.tarrantcountytx.gov/RealEstate/SearchEntry.aspx
Collin County Deed Record Search: http://countyclerkrecords.co.collin.tx.us/webinquiry/
Each one works a bit differently but usually you can search for the name of the company in some form or fashion (sometimes it takes a little trial and error). Here is a search of somebody you may want to think twice before doing work for:
You will note that we put in the persons first and last name (you could have also put in a corporate name under the last name), and checked, land records. You will get results that look something like this:
As far as looking for Mechanic’s Liens that is the first highlighted area M/L AFDT, depending on the county it may say something different. It gets more interesting with the next two highlighted boxes. Abst Jdgmt means that they have lost in court and have a judgment against them and the abstract is in place to help the prevailing party secure their judgment on any real property owned by that person in that county, and I think we all know what it means when “USA” has a Fed Tax LN on someone.
This is just a quick example on how anyone can use public information to help protect their business. Obviously, if this is you and you are entering into business with someone who’s reputation you don’t know or may be a little dubious, it really pays to do your homework on the front end. If you would rather not do this yourself, then this is an example of what KMDA can do for you for all surrounding counties. We usually provide a report to our client that goes through the various businesses owned by that individual and tells you what type of Judgments and liens they might have against them.
Good Luck and Happy Researching!