Florida Construction Lien Law: Four Commonly Asked Questions
There are often multiple subcontractors and material providers involved on one construction project that work under the general contractor, many of which are not in direct contact with the owner of the property. Once payments are made to the general contractor, he should then disburse payments to subcontractors, who then pay sub-subcontractors, and so on, until all parties receive payment for services and materials provided. This, unfortunately, does not always happen. As a result, construction professionals are forced to exercise their lien rights as outlined in Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes.
The requirements of the construction lien filing process are complex and involve many steps that must be met precisely as they are outlined. Representation from an experienced Brandon construction lawyer will ensure all claim of lien requirements are met correctly and within the specified time frames.
Below, are answers to four commonly asked questions related to construction liens.
1. Who Should Receive the Preliminary Notice?
The preliminary notice or Notice to Owner is a requirement of the construction lien process. If you are not in direct contract with the owner, you may be wondering who should receive this document. First, the preliminary notice should be sent to anyone listed on the Notice of Commencement, often the owner, a designated agent, lenders, and the general contractor. Then, the notice should go to anyone between you and the owner. For example, if you are a material provider to a sub-contractor, the preliminary notice should be supplied to the sub-contractor, the general contractor, the owner, and any other person or entity listed on the Notice of Commencement.
The Florida Statutes have specific requirements on the verbiage that must be included when drafting this notice, as well as specific requirements on when the notice is to be delivered. To maintain your lien rights, ensure you follow the guidelines exactly as they are mandated or work with a construction lawyer in Brandon, FL who can draft and have the document delivered on your behalf.
2. When Should the Claim of Lien be Filed?
A Claim of Lien must be filed with the Clerk of Court or County Recorder in the county where the property is located within 90 days of the final furnishing of service or supplies. For contractors, the 90 day countdown starts on the last day services are provided at the job site with the exception of warranty or construction defect corrections. For material providers, the 90 day countdown starts on the last day materials were delivered to the property, and for equipment rentals, the 90 day countdown starts on the last day the equipment is used on the construction site.
3. Do You Qualify?
There are a few requirements in regards to the eligibility of lien rights. The project itself must be a permanent improvement to real property in the amount of $2,500 or more. This means government projects are not lienable, and maintenance and temporary improvements also do not qualify.
Your role in the project is another qualifying factor. Sub-sub-subcontractors, suppliers of suppliers, and suppliers to sub-subcontractors are ineligible to file a lien. Proper licensing is also necessary to exercise lien rights.
4. When Can I Foreclose on the Lien?
You have approximately one year from the filing date of the Claim of Lien to move forward with an attempt to foreclose on the property in order to receive payment. If you have not taken representation from a construction attorney in Brandon at this point, it is highly recommended to do so.
The only exception to this timeline is if the amount owed is recovered, a “Notice of Contest” is filed, or a summon to show cause is filed.
To schedule a consultation with one of our construction lawyers from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, please call us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.