Sending a correctly filled out Notice to Owner Florida form secures your right to get paid for labor and/or materials furnished to a construction project. By preparing your Notice to Owner (NTO) accurately and mailing your Notice to Owner (NTO) timely, you are securing your equity interest in the project.
4 Steps to ensure your Notice to Owner is enforceable
· Notice to Owner Form - The Notice to Owner form can be found under §713.06, Fla.Stat. (2019).
· Recipients - Obtain a copy of the Notice of Commencement and list all the recipients on the notice to owner. If a Notice of Commencement was never recorded or required you may rely on the information in the building permit. §713.06(2)(e)
· Deadline - The Notice to Owner MUST be received by the 45th day from when you furnished labor and/or material to the project. §713.06(2)(a)
· Service - Send the Notice to Owner by certified return receipt deliver via certified mail for proof of delivery.
What is a Notice to Owner?
In Florida, A Notice to Owner is a formal notice sent to the property owner(s), the general contractor, any lenders, surety agents, bond companies and/or any designated recipient(s) listed on the Notice of Commencement that you are securing your right to lien and/or place a claim against the bond in the event of non-payment.
The Notice to Owner form is a powerful way to protect your receivables if you are making improvements to a construction project. By Sending the Notice to Owner, you are stating that if Owner, General Contractor or any of the subcontractors do not pay you for your work on the project, you will enforce your lien rights if necessary. So, sending a notice to owner important step to take to make sure you are paid for your work on a project.
Who should send a Notice to Owner?
Anyone that doesn’t have a direct contract with the owner of the property is required to send a notice to owner if they wish to secure their lien rights. This includes subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, material suppliers.
According to Florida Statutes - § 713.06, (2)(a):
- All lienors under this section, except laborers, as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien under this chapter and recording a claim of lien, must serve a notice on the owner.
- Sub-Subcontractor or a materialman to a subcontractor must serve a copy of the notice on the contractor as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien under this chapter and recording a claim of lien.
- A materialman to a sub-subcontractor must serve a copy of the notice to owner on the contractor as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien under this chapter and recording a claim of lien.
Who is exempted from sending a Notice to Owner?
In the State of Florida, anyone working on a construction project and has a direct contract with the property owner is not required to send a Notice to Owner.
- A “professional lienor” (architect, landscape architect, interior designer, engineer, or surveyor and mapper) does not need to file a Notice to Owner as per § 713.03, Florida Statutes.
How to find out details about a project?
The Notice of Commencement for the project you are working on will have a full list of all the people you need to send your Notice to Owner to. It will also contain information that you need to include in the NTO. The Notice of Commencement also contains information such as:
- A legal description of the property and its complete address
- A description of the improvements that will be made to the property
- The owner’s name and address
- The contractor's information
How to Prepare the Notice to Owner form in Florida?
- First, obtain a copy of the Notice of Commencement. The Notice of Commencement for the project you are working on will have a full list of all the people you need to send your Notice to Owner.
- After you obtain a copy of the Notice of Commencement you are ready to begin preparing the Notice to Owner form.
- In Florida, you must adhere to the Notice to Owner requirements under § 713.06, Florida Statutes. According to Florida's lien law, this notice must include the following warning and information:
FLORIDA’S CONSTRUCTION LIEN LAW ALLOWS SOME UNPAID CONTRACTORS, SUBCONTRACTORS, AND MATERIAL SUPPLIERS TO FILE LIENS AGAINST YOUR PROPERTY EVEN IF YOU HAVE MADE PAYMENT IN FULL.
UNDER FLORIDA LAW, YOUR FAILURE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE PAID MAY RESULT IN A LIEN AGAINST YOUR PROPERTY AND YOU'RE PAYING TWICE.
TO AVOID A LIEN AND PAYING TWICE, YOU MUST OBTAIN A WRITTEN RELEASE FROM US EVERY TIME YOU PAY YOUR CONTRACTOR
Below is a list of key information that must be included in the Notice to Owner (You can find it in Florida Statutes Section 713.06)
- Property owner’s name and address.
- Owner designee’s name and address (if applicable).
- General contractor’s name and address.
- General description of work or materials and supplies provided for the job.
- Property description.
- Hiring party’s name and address.
- In addition, any party that is receiving a copy must be identified. The NTO must include the statutory warning language, the sender’s name and signature, and the date of signature.
You can use SunRay’s Project Information Sheet to write down the details about your project so that you have all your information in one place whenever you need it.
Your lien rights could be lost if there are any inaccuracies or omissions in your Florida NTO form. Using competent lien management software to complete your Florida Notices, Liens, or Bond Claims will make sure the form is carefully considered and created in compliance with the requirements of statutory legislation. Furthermore, the service will guarantee that the form is delivered to all necessary recipients before the deadline, allowing you to be certain that the legislative requirement has been met.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, you can always reference the Florida Statutes “Notice to Owner” statutory form here.
Who is required to receive a copy of the Notice to Owner?
Despite the name, the Notice to Owner form the notice isn’t just sent to the owner of the property, it is sent to all the people shown on the Notice of Commencement. The Notice to Owner notifies all parties interested in the project.
There are three different ways to deliver a Notice to Owner in Florida. They are:
- [Recommended] By common carrier delivery service (UPS or FedEx) or by registered, Global Express Guaranteed, or certified mail (the most common method), with postage or shipping paid by the sender and with evidence of delivery.
- By actual delivery to the person to be served. If it is a partnership, then only one partner needs to be served. If it is a corporation, then to an officer, director, managing agent, or business agent for the corporation. If it is to a limited liability company, then to a member or manager of the entity.
- Only if the above methods cannot be accomplished, then by posting on the site of the improvement.
The best business practice is to use option one above via certified mail. The reason is that if the Notice to Owner is mailed within 40 days after the date the lienor first furnishes labor, services, or materials, and if the person who served the notice maintains a certified mail log (also known as a manifest) that shows the certified mail number issued by the United States Postal Service, the name and address of the person served, and the date stamp of the United States Postal Service confirming the date of mailing, then service of the Notice to Owner is effective on the date of mailing (not the date of receipt). This means that even if the Notice was delivered late (after the 45 days) by the Post Office, or never delivered due to an issue with Post Office (the mail truck caught fire), your Notice to Owner is still timely and effective upon mailing.
There is one important condition for this to apply. Specifically, the Notice must be sent to the last address shown in the Notice of Commencement or any amendment there to or, in the absence of a Notice of Commencement, to the last address shown in the building permit application, or to the last known address of the person to be served. Therefore, having accurate project information and conducting proper research to locate the Notice of Commencement is critical.
When is the deadline to send a Notice to Owner in Florida?
A Notice to Owner must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing labor and/or material to a project. Best business practice is to send your Notices to Owners as soon as you have a verbal or written agreement.
*Specially fabricated Material- If fabricated material was specially and specifically designed for the project and you cannot use this material for anything other than this project, the NTO should be sent via certified mail from 45 days from the first production of the material at the shop, not 45 days from the delivery date of supplies to project.
Tricky Florida Notice to Owner Exceptions
In particular situations, there may be an exception to a Notice to Owner in Florida -
- Exception to the 45-day rule: Even if you send your Notice to Owner as per the deadline, you may lose your lien rights if the general contractor/prime contractor provides a Final Payment Affidavit, and the owner pays the final payment.
- Contracts less than $2,500: If a person has a direct contract with the owner of the property on a job that is $2,500 or less, they have lien rights. However, the subcontractor and suppliers on the job do not have lien rights and cannot file a claim of lien.
Who can send a notice to owner form to secure their lien rights?
Only subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and suppliers have the right to file a construction lien. If you are a remote contractor, i.e., supplier to suppliers, or 4th-tier subcontractors, you do not have an obligation to serve a Notice to Owner, nor do you have any rights to claim a lien on real property.
Remember that sending your Notice to Owner is essential to securing your lien rights. Make sure you have the correct statutory Notice to owner form, that it’s filled out correctly sent to all the correct recipients, and mailed timely.
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.