A Notice to Owner (also known as an NTO) is one of the most powerful collection tools in the construction industry. Its function is to secure your lien and bond claim rights in the event that whoever hired you is unable or unwilling to pay you.
People often get the details wrong when sending their Florida NTOs. This results in an invalid NTO, meaning you lose your lien and bond rights on the project.
For your Florida NTO to be valid, the 3 main things you need to watch out for are:
1. Was the NTO sent on time?
2. Was the NTO correctly researched and completed?
3. Was the NTO Florida sent to all of the required recipients?
Why Is it So Important to Send a Notice to Owner Florida?
Sending a Notice to Owner Florida form secures your right to get paid. You may not get paid for any number of reasons but here are the three most common in the construction industry in Florida:
1. Owner pays the general contractor, but the general contractor does not pay you.
2. Owner does not pay the general contractor who then cannot pay you.
3. Person that hires you claims that they are the owner, but they are actually the tenant of the property.
When Do I Need to Send a Florida Notice to Owner?
Sending a late NTO is the single most common reason for an invalid NTO.
A notice to owner needs to be received, NOT sent 45 days from first furnishing labor and/or materials to the project.
Who Should You Send Your Notice to Owner to?
‘Notice to Owner’ is actually a misnomer. In fact, you need to send your Notice to Owner form not only to the owner of the property but also all required recipients.
This is because all of these people have a stake in the particular project in question. Like you, they have a material interest in the value of the property.
The Notice of Commencement (NOC) for your project contains the full list of people who you need to send your NTO form to.
The shortest and best answer to this question then is that you need to send an NTO to everyone named in the Notice of Commencement.
The Notice to Owner Florida Form
The Notice to Owner form can be found under § 713.06, Fla.Stat. (2019).The Florida statute lays out the Notice to Owner requirements, such as:
1. The owner's name and address,
2. The general description of the work or materials you are providing to the job,
3. Legal description of the property you are improving,
4. Your signature, name, and address, and
5. A list of those who will receive copies of the NTO Florida
Can a Notice to Owner Florida Jeopardize My Business Relationship?
Many subcontractors and suppliers fear sending a Notice to Owner Florida form as they think it will jeopardize their business relationship with the client.
The opposite is in fact the case and sending your Florida NTOs in a timely and professional manner is simply good business practice. It is expected in the industry, to such an extent that general contractor swill normally pay those subcontractors who send their NTOs first.
By contrast, not sending your Florida NTOs in a timely and professional manner is a sure sign of someone just starting out or otherwise not knowledgeable as to how the industry operates.
Who does not need to send a Notice to Owner to secure their lien rights?
Nearly everyone making improvements to a construction project has lien rights: General contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, equipment lessors, laborers, designers, and architects all have lien rights in Florida.
Interior designers, laborers, architects, landscape architect, engineers, surveyors, and mappers are not required to send Florida Notice to Owner forms to secure their lien rights.
To confirm if you fall under this umbrella you can review § 713.03, Fla.Stat. (2019). Standard business practice is to send Florida NTOs unless you are certain that you do not need to send them.
Who does not have lien rights?
Some groups do not have lien rights. Generally, those who do not have lien rights are considered "remote" contractors. The following do not have lien rights:
1. Suppliers to suppliers
2. 4th tier subcontractors
As a side note, rental companies and material suppliers that are 4th tier DO have lien rights and should send a notice to owner in Florida.
Notice to Owner Takeaways
The takeaway here is that sending your NTO is vital to securing payment on your project. Fill it out correctly, send it to all the right people and do so on time!
Want to make sure that your NTO Florida is sent on time, researched correctly and sent to all the correct recipients? Click here and request your NTO in less than 5 minutes.
THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBPAGE IS NOT THE SAME AS LEGAL ADVICE. SUNRAY CONSTRUCTION SOLUTIONS, LLC IS NOT AN ATTORNEY OR A LAW FIRM. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY.