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3 Ways to Protect your Construction Lien Rights During Turbulent Times

December 14, 2020 by in #Coronavirus

3 Ways to Protect your Construction Lien Rights During Turbulent Times

As a result of Covid-19, issues of non-payment have risen dramatically in the building industry. Florida Statues, Chapter 713 provides the remedy of a construction lien (sometimes referred to as a mechanics lien) to protect tradesman and suppliers alike from issues of nonpayment for the services and/or materials they have supplied to a construction project. To enforce a construction lien, there are strict requirements and time sensitive deadlines which must be met to avoid losing out on your rights to enforcement.

Who can file a lien? (Proper lienors under Florida Law). To file and enforce a lien under Chapter 713 a person must fit into one of the defined categories of lienor as follows: a) A contractor; b) A subcontractor; c) A sub-subcontractor; d) A laborer; e) a materialman who contracts with the owner, a contractor, a subcontractor, or a sub-subcontractor; or f) A professional lienor as defined by Florida Statute 713.03 (which means any architect, landscape architect, interior designer, engineer, or surveyor and mapper).

  1. Serve your Notice to Owner within 45 days of starting work on a project. If you are a lienor who has not contracted directly with the property owner, you must provide a Notice to Owner as prescribed by Florida Statute 713.06. The Notice to Owner must be served on the property owner and general contractor providing the lienor’s name and address, a description sufficient for identification of the real property, and the nature of the services or materials furnished or to be furnished. Verbal notice or actual notice will not meet this requirement. The Notice to Owner must be served by the earlier of within 45 days after first providing labor or materials to the property; (b) 45 days when work begins on making specialty materials for the property; (c) Before owner’s final payment to the general contractor under its contract. Failure to provide a Notice to Owner under this circumstance may will lead to waiving your liens rights.
  2. File your claim of lien within 90 days of completing work on a project. Florida construction lien laws requires that a lienor files their construction lien within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials to a property. Additionally, the lienor must serve a copy of the lien on the property within 15 days of the filing the construction lien.
  3. File suit to enforce your claim of lien within 1 year. A lawsuit to enforce your construction lien must be commenced within 1 year of filing the construction lien, or the lien becomes unenforceable. Be mindful that the deadline to enforce your construction lien may be shortened by the property owner filling a Notice of Contest of the lien, which shortens the deadline to 60 days, or a Notice to Show Cause which shortens the deadline to file suit to 20 days after the notice has been received.

In Conclusion, regardless of how great the working relationship is with your customers, always follow the proper procedure and deadlines to ensure that your lien rights are being preserved to protect yourself against issues of nonpayment that may unexpectedly arises.

Contact Attorney Babb today at 321-608-0890.

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