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Austin Construction And Real Estate Law Blog

Using a mechanic's lien to your advantage

When you subcontract to work on a construction project, you take a risk, especially if you have never worked for the contractor before or the contractor's reputation for payment is sketchy. There is always the chance that the owner of the construction project will not pay or that the contractor will not pass along to you what you deserve for the work you completed.

This is where a mechanic's lien can come in handy. A mechanic's lien, or contractor's lien, is an option Texas law provides to ensure contractors and subcontractors receive fair pay for their work. Employing such a lien is complex, but since the success of your business depends on you getting paid, it may be worth it to learn how you can benefit from filing one.

Avoiding construction fraud that can harm your company

As a contractor or developer, you deal with numerous entities in a single project. You may rely on subcontractors, accountants and laborers, all of whom are looking out for their own bottom lines. If you are committed to running an honest, reputable business, you may assume others in your industry feel the same way. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to take the moral high road to make a buck.

Fraud in the construction industry seems to be on the rise, and you may come in contact with any number of people who have slick schemes to rip you off before you realize it is happening. Knowing some of the most common fraudulent practices in construction may help you avoid becoming a victim.

Your neighbor may be liable for damage from diverted water

Even the smallest amount of water where it does not belong can cause untold harm. While water can bring immediate damage, it also seeps into hidden places in a home, car or shed where it may cause long-term issues such as mold and rot.

When you alter your landscape or construct an addition or new building on your property, you have to be aware of the way your projects may create changes in storm runoff and other water drainage. If your neighbors do not have the same consideration, you may be struggling with unexpected damage from water diverted to your property.

How could an easement affect your property rights?

As a Texas property owner, you understand the importance of knowing exactly where the property boundaries lie and any potential complications that could affect your preferred use of the land. One of these complications could include an easement on your property. If there is one, it is in your best interests to know what it means and how it will affect you.

An easement allows another party to use the property in a certain way, but it does not allow for any possessory rights. This means that another person could access your privately owned property, even if you do not want them to or they have no ownership stake in the land. There are various types of easements, and you may find it beneficial to know how to shield your property rights and interests.

Construction delays can put a monkey wrench in your project

Working in the construction business often requires you to try to predict the future. You need to think about the factors that could hinder your progress on a project. Construction delays can make or break your business.

Word of mouth still means something in the business world, and if you can't deliver on a project due to delays, it could not only cost you on a particular project, but could also cost you future clients. When thinking about how your project could get sidelined, it may help to go over a few of the most common reasons why construction delays occur.

When your neighbor's tree causes damage

Trees are among the more majestic parts of nature. Providing shade and beauty, trees are often an integral part of landscaping, on both commercial property and private residences. Austin and other areas of Texas continue to debate ordinances protecting trees. Property owners who are unfamiliar with the tree regulations may find themselves in trouble with local officials who work to protect trees of certain sizes and species.

However, what happens when a neighbor's tree is a danger or nuisance to you and your property? You may have repeatedly asked your neighbor to prune or even remove a troublesome tree, but your neighbor has not complied. Regardless of tree protection ordinances, you do have certain rights when your neighbor's tree causes or threatens to cause damage to your property.

What are your options for resolving boundary disputes?

As a Texas property owner, it can be frustrating and overwhelming to find yourself in the midst of a dispute over the boundaries to your property. Resolving these types of disputes in a timely manner is important, and it is beneficial for you to understand how to protect your property rights and financial interests.

In many situations involving a boundary dispute, there is a lot on the line. Real estate litigation is complex and costly, and many people find it beneficial to work with an experienced legal ally as they work to find a resolution that is both effective, affordable and timely. If you are dealing with boundary dispute issues for your commercial or residential property, you do not have to face it alone.

Is your company facing construction defect claims?

You take pride in your work, and that includes completing jobs on time and within budget as often as possible. Your construction company builds homes where people will raise their families, celebrate victories and come together to comfort one another. Homes are among the most expensive investments people can make, and they understandably want the job done right.

When your company faces accusations of construction defects, you certainly want to defend your reputation. Construction defects encompass a wide variety of problems from various stages during the project. If you are dealing with a homeowner's claims that your company did poor work, you will want to seek legal assistance from someone who is knowledgeable in construction law and defects.

Your rights when buying into an HOA

When you began your search for the perfect place to raise your family or retire, you likely took a careful look at the neighborhoods as well as the kitchen, baths and bedrooms. An unpredictable neighborhood or inconsiderate neighbors can make even the perfect house into a living nightmare.

One way to avoid many of the problems that are common among neighbors is to purchase a home in a gated or planned community. Homeowners associations control these neighborhoods. The HOA is comprised of homeowners in the community who agree to live by the rules before they buy their homes. If you are considering purchasing a home in a Texas community that has an HOA, you would be wise to read carefully and fully understand those rules before making your decision.

Change orders are a fact of life in the construction business

Perhaps you are finally doing what you always dreamed of: running your own construction business here in Texas. As a general contractor, you spend a significant amount of time working with an owner to determine exactly what he or she expects and figuring out how to make it happen.

Once you feel as though you have a handle on what the client expects of you on a project, you provide the owner with a cost. After further negotiating, if needed, you sign a contract. Hopefully, in the midst of all of the other agreed-upon terms, you included a detailed description of the scope of the work you will do and the cost for doing it.

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Law Office of Tom Murphy
9600 Great Hills Trail
Suite 150 W
Austin, TX 78759

Phone: 512-774-6883
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