Sending a Request for Information in Texas: Importance and Benefits | Handle

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Sending a Request for Information in Texas: Importance and Benefits

Sending a Request for Information in Texas: Importance and Benefits

January 15, 2021

When filling out a construction document such as preliminary notices and mechanics liens, it is very important for a construction professional to have all the required information. Failing to include all the required details can invalidate a form, which can lead to critical consequences such as losing one’s right to file a mechanics lien.

The challenge, then, becomes finding all the required information and making sure that they are correct and accurate. Fortunately, Texas is one of the states that have laws surrounding exchanging important construction information.

This guide answers important questions about preparing and sending a Texas Request for Information as well as responding to one.

What is a written Texas Request for Information? What is it used for?

A Texas Request for Information is a written document that is delivered by someone who needs certain information from the receiving party.

This document may be sent when the sending party needs important details to complete construction paperwork such as mechanics liens and preliminary notices. A higher-tier party may also request information to know which lower-tier participants are working on their project.

What are the types of Request for Information in Texas?

In Texas, there are three types of Request for Information that is regulated under Texas Property Code §53.159:

Types of Texas Request for Information

Each type differs depending on who is serving the request on whom. When served, all three types of Request for Information would require the receiving party to respond with the requested details.

Contractor’s Request for Information to Owner

This type of Request for Information is served by a general contractor on the property owner to ask for the following information:

(1) a description of the real property being improved legally sufficient to identify it;

(2) whether there is a surety bond and if so, the name and last known address of the surety and a copy of the bond;

(3) whether there are any prior recorded liens or security interests on the real property being improved and if so, the name and address of the person having the lien or security interest; and

(4) the date on which the original contract for the project was executed.

Subcontractor’s Request for Information to Contractor

This type of Request for Information is served by a subcontractor or material supplier to ask a general contractor for the following details:

(1) the name and last known address of the person to whom the original contractor furnished labor or materials for the construction project;

(2) whether the original contractor has furnished or has been furnished a payment bond for any of the work on the construction project and if so, the name and last known address of the surety and a copy of the bond; and

(3) the date on which the original contract for the project was executed.

Contractor or Owner’s Request for Information to Subcontractor

This third type of Request for Information is sent by a higher-tier party – a property owner or general contractor – to a lower-tier party such as a subcontractor. The owner or the GC may ask for the following details:

(1) the name and last known address of each person from whom the subcontractor purchased labor or materials for the construction project, other than those materials that were furnished to the project from the subcontractor’s inventory;

(2) the name and last known address of each person to whom the subcontractor furnished labor or materials for the construction project; and

(3) whether the subcontractor has furnished or has been furnished a payment bond for any of the work on the construction project and if so, the name and last known address of the surety and a copy of the bond.

Note that while you are allowed to request other details with your written document, the party receiving your notice is only required to provide the details mentioned above.

Who can serve a Request for Information in Texas?

All parties, including property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers, are allowed to serve a Request for Information in Texas.

Is it required to serve a Request for Information in Texas?

No, serving a Request for Information in Texas is not required. However, if you receive a Request for Information that asks for the details listed above, you are mandated by law to respond to the sender within 10 days of receipt. Your response must include the details that were requested.

When do you serve a Texas Request for Information?

You may serve a Texas Request for Information at any time. Usually, however, construction stakeholders serve a Request for Information early on in a project, sometimes even before they begin their work. This is because having certain information on hand will benefit a construction participant as regards protecting their lien or bond rights.

When working on a project, for example, a subcontractor might want to know if the contractor has furnished a bond or not. They may be able to pursue a bond claim in case payment disputes come up. It is also important to know the legal description of a property, especially when filing a mechanics lien, and this detail is something that you can directly ask from an owner.

When is the deadline for responding to a Texas Request for Information

When is the deadline for responding to a Request for Information?

If you receive a Request for Information, you have 10 days within the date of receipt to respond with the appropriate details. If you fail to do so, you may be liable to the party who requested the information and you may have to pay the costs that they spent to procure the necessary information.

How to serve a Texas Request for Information

How to serve a Texas Request for Information

1. Prepare the Texas Request for Information form

Preparing the request for information is easy. You simply need to include your name, address, and signature, as well as the name and address of the party from whom you need the information.

Furthermore, you also need to specify the information that you are requesting. It is best practice to ask for the information listed below as these details are required to be furnished to you by law.

If requesting info from an owner, ask for:

  • The legal property description of the project location
  • Whether there is a surety bond for the project
  • The name and last known address of the surety
  • A copy of the bond
  • Whether there are any prior recorded liens or security interests on the property
  • The name and address of the person having the lien or security interest
  • The date on which the original contract was executed.

If requesting info from a general contractor, ask for:

  • The name and last known address of the property owner
  • Whether there is a surety bond for the project
  • The name and last known address of the surety
  • A copy of the bond; and
    The date on which the original contract for the project was executed

If requesting info from a subcontractor or a material supplier, ask for:

  • the name and last known address of each person from whom the subcontractor purchased labor or materials for the project, other than those materials that were furnished from the subcontractor’s inventory
  • the name and last known address of each person to whom the subcontractor furnished labor or materials for the project; and
  • whether the subcontractor has furnished or has been furnished a payment bond
  • the name and last known address of the surety
  • a copy of the bond.

You may also add the following note to your Texas Request for Information form:

Pursuant to Tex. Prop. Code § 53.159, you are legally obliged to furnish the requested information within a reasonable time but no later than the 10th day after this request is received.

2. Serve the Texas Request for Information

There are no strict rules on how you may serve your Request for Information. It is best to serve it via certified mail, but you may also personally deliver your request. You may want to make sure that the person receiving your request signs an acknowledgment of receipt form, just so you have a time-stamped proof that they have indeed received your document.

If you are responding to a Request for Information, you may provide the request details via certified mail, but you may also personally deliver the document with the responses. Likewise, it is best to ensure that you can track and prove that you have responded on time by getting the recipient to sign an acknowledgment of receipt form.

Note that it is very important to respond to a request for information no later than 10 days after receiving the request. Failing to send the requested information within the 10-day window may cost you money, and it may also sour your business relationships with other stakeholders of a project.

Best practices for serving a Texas Request for Information

1. Serve a Request for Information early

It is a good business practice to request all the required information as soon as you close a deal for a project. Even before you commence work, you should already prepare and serve your Request for Information so you have all the important details to complete other important documents such as your Texas monthly preliminary notices.

2. Remember to respond to a Request for Information on time

You have 10 days after receiving a Request for Information to respond to the sender with all the details that they asked for. Keep this 10-day deadline in mind if you want to avoid spending unnecessary costs in penalties, and also to ensure that you start a project with a harmonious, collaborative relationship with other project participants.

3. Mention in your Request for Information the recipient’s legal obligation to respond

The party who is receiving your request for information may not be fully aware that Texas has laws concerning such a formal request. To ensure that they know their legal obligation to respond to your request, be sure to explicitly mention in our Request for Information form that they are legally mandated to provide you with the requested details pursuant to Tex. Prop. Code § 53.159.

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