Texas Constitutional Liens – What are they?

Most people in the construction industry have a hard time understanding whether or not they qualify for a constitutional lien.

A constitutional lien is the foundation of Texas lien law and arises from the Texas Constitution, Texas Property Code, and Texas Government Code. However, its scope is limited. The Texas Constitution states that mechanics, artisans and materialmen of every class, shall have a lien upon the buildings and articles made or repaired by them for the value of their labor done thereon, or material furnished thereof; and the Legislature shall provide by law for the speedy and efficient enforcement of the liens.

The constitutional lien applies to original contractors, not to subcontractors or derivative contractors.

  • It is self-executing and acts independently of any legislative act.
  • To avail oneself of the constitutional lien, you must have a direct contractual relationship with the owner.
  • You can assert a constitutional lien by filing a form similar to the statutory lien affidavit.
  • If you have a contract with the owner, you may desire to assert a constitutional lien if the filing time period for the statutory lien has expired.
  • A constitutional lien may be filed under the applicable two- or four-year statute of limitations.
  • A constitutional lien is only binding on an article or building that has been made or repaired by the claimant

There is no constitutional lien on public works, buildings or projects. The real benefit of Constitutional Liens is that you are not required to send a notice letter prior to filing the lien, you don’t have the stringent deadlines, and they are much more difficult to dispute if you truly qualify.