In this blog, we will find who can file a construction Lien in Florida, and the steps involved. Read on to find out all statutory requirements, and how to secure your payments rights in less than a minute!
Who can File a Construction Lien in Florida?
In Florida, several parties have the right to file a construction lien to protect their interests. These parties include:
- Prime contractors: These are the main contractors who have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner and are responsible for overseeing the entire construction project.
- Subcontractors: These are contractors who are hired by the prime contractor to perform specific portions of the work outlined in the contract. They may include trade specialists such as electricians, plumbers, or carpenters.
- Sub-subcontractors: Sometimes, subcontractors hire other subcontractors to assist them in completing their portion of the work. These sub-subcontractors also have the right to file a construction lien.
- Laborers: Individuals who provide physical labor on the construction project, such as construction workers, can also file a construction lien in Florida.
- Material suppliers: Suppliers of construction materials, including suppliers of building materials, equipment, or other necessary supplies, can assert their lien rights if they have not been paid for the materials provided.
- Professionals: Architects, designers, or engineers who have provided professional services related to the construction project are also eligible to file a construction lien if they have not received payment for their services.
These parties have the legal right to file a construction lien in Florida as a means to secure their right to payment for the work or materials they have provided on a construction project.
How to file a Construction Lien in Florida?
Here are the steps involved in the process of filing a construction lien:
Step 1: Send a Notice to Owner (NTO)
If you have a direct contract with the property owner, you are not required to send an NTO. However, failing to send an NTO or sending it late may prevent you from filing a lien later. The NTO should be sent within specific deadlines.
Step 2: Prepare the lien using the correct form
The lien document should comply with the specific legal requirements in Florida. You can obtain the Notice to Owner Florida form, which can be downloaded as per Florida Statute 713.08.
Step 3: Determine the last day on the job
You have a limited timeframe of 90 days from the last day you provided labor or materials on the property to record a lien. It is advisable to file the lien within 60 days to ensure timely recording.
Step 4: Determine the county for recording
The lien should be recorded in the county where the improvements were made. For example, if the work was done in Miami Beach, Florida, the lien would be recorded in Miami-Dade County.
Step 5: Mail the lien
Within 15 days of recording the lien, it must be sent by certified mail to all relevant parties. Failure to do so can invalidate the lien.
How to Enforce a Construction Lien through Foreclosure?
Once you have sent the NTO, most general contractors prioritize payment. However, if the payment is still not made, you may proceed to file a lawsuit to enforce the lien. This is the final step in the construction lien process, and you generally have one year from the date of recording the lien to initiate foreclosure.
What are the Exceptions to the one-year foreclosure period?
There are three exceptions to the one-year foreclosure rule:
- Contested lien: If a lien is contested, the time to file a lawsuit is reduced from one year to 60 days.
- 20-day summons to show cause: If a 20-day summons is issued, the time to file a lawsuit is reduced to 20 days.
- Termination of Notice of Commencement: If the Notice of Commencement is terminated, the lien must be recorded within 30 days of the termination, and a new Notice to Owner form must be served.
It is important to ensure compliance with all necessary paperwork and requirements to secure your right to payment. If you need any kind of assistance for filing a lien in Florida, reach out to us here, and we will help you get paid!