A construction lien or mechanic’s lien protects contractors, subcontractors and suppliers from non-payment if they have provided labor or materials to a construction project. This document originated from the automobile industry, wherein if an owner failed to pay for repairs, the mechanic could file a claim and retain the vehicle until the lien was paid off or satisfied. A construction lien works in a similar way, except on property.
Non-payment and the power of a construction lien
Non-payment is an unfortunate part of working in the construction industry. Nearly every contractor, subcontractor, equipment lessor and supplier has experienced not being paid. A powerful collection tool in your arsenal to get paid is a construction lien.
A construction lien, also known as a mechanic's lien, prevents a property from being sold, transferred, refinanced, or may even freeze project funds from the construction lender.
The lien is against real property
A construction lien is filed against the property title and is noted in land records. The lien is not recorded against a person or their company. For example, if a general contractor is not paying you, you will not file a lien against the general contractor. You will lien the real property where you made the improvements.
Who can file a construction lien in Florida?
· Prime contractors
· Material suppliers
· Professionals (architects, designers, or engineers)
Are there prerequisites to filing a lien?
If you do not have a direct contract with the owner of a property, you will be required to send a Notice to Owner (NTO) in Florida. If you do not deliver the NTO within 45 days from first furnishing labor and/or material, you will forfeit your lien rights.
Who cannot file a mechanic’s lien in Florida?
In Florida, remote contractors do not have lien rights. A remote contractor is anyone who is three or more levels below the owner, also known as 4th-tier. In addition, suppliers to suppliers cannot lien a property.
What is my time frame to lien a property?
You have 90 days from the last day you are on the property, to lien a property. The last day on the job does not include punch list work.
The process of filing a contractor’s lien in Florida may seem simple but missing the deadline, not sending the required Notice to Owner, or making errors in your filing can invalidate your lien claim.
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.