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Florida Lien & Bond Claim Deadlines

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What is your role on the project?
Preliminary Notice
At the beginning of the project

Notice of Commencement (NOC)

A Notice of Commencement also known as a NOC is recorded in the Florida county where the project is located. A NOC is recorded if the project is greater than $2500 and must be posted on the job site by the general contractor. Construction must start 90 days from recording the document. A Notice of Commencement is not required for government owned properties.

Lien
90 days from last furnishing

Claim of Mechanic's Lien

A Claim of Mechanic's Lien must be sent by the general contractor within 90 days of last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project in Florida. Punch list work is not included nor considered part of your 90 days from last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project.

Preliminary Notice
40 days from first furnishing

Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor

A Florida Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing of labor and/or materials to a Florida residential project. For specially fabricated materials, the clock starts ticking as soon as you the subcontractor, start fabricating. A Notice to Owner should be sent by the general contractor no later than the 40th day from first furnishing using a USPS stamped manifest. If the notice is stamped by the 40th day, your NTO is considered served.

Lien
90 days from last furnishing

Claim of Mechanic's Lien

A Claim of Mechanic's Lien in Florida must be sent within 90 days of last furnishing labor and/or materials to a Florida residential project. Punch list work is not included nor considered part of your 90 days from last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project.

Preliminary Notice
40 days from first furnishing

Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor

A Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor ( NTO ) in Florida must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing of labor and/or materials to the residential project. For specially fabricated materials, the clock starts ticking as soon you as the supplier start fabricating. A Notice to Owner should be sent no later than the 40th day from first furnishing using a USPS stamped manifest. If the notice is stamped by the 40th day, your NTO is considered served

Lien
90 days from last furnishing

Claim of Mechanic's Lien

A Florida Claim of Mechanic's Lien must be sent within 90 days of last furnishing labor and/or materials to the Florida residential project. Punch list work is not included nor considered part of your 90 days from last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project.

What is your role on the project?
Notice of Commencement
At the beginning of the project

Notice of Commencement (NOC)

A Notice of Commencement also known as an NOC is recorded in the Florida county where the commercial project is located. The NOC is recorded by the general contractor if the project is greater than $2500 and must be posted on the job site. Construction must start 90 days from recording the document. A Notice of Commencement is not required for government owned properties.

Preliminary Notice
Recommended but not required

Preliminary Notice

Although it is not a legal requirement for a general contractor to send a Preliminary Notice in Florida for commercial projects, it is best practice to do so. Sending a preliminary notice advises all parties that you are working on the project and helps you get paid faster.

Lien
90 days from last furnishing

Claim of Mechanic's Lien

A Claim of Mechanic's Lien in Florida must be sent within 90 days of last furnishing labor and/or materials to the commercial project by the general contractor. Punch list work is not included nor considered part of your 90 days from last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project.

Preliminary Notice
40 days from first furnishing

Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO)

A Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing of labor and/or materials. For specially fabricated materials, the clock starts ticking as soon you start fabricating. A Notice to Owner should be sent no later than the 40th day from first furnishing using a USPS stamped manifest. If the notice is stamped by the 40th day, your NTO is considered served.

Lien
90 days from last furnishing

Claim of Mechanic's Lien

A Claim of Mechanic's Lien must be sent within 90 days of last furnishing of labor or materials to the project. Punch list work is not including nor considered part of your 90 days from last furnishing.

Preliminary Notice
40 days from first furnishing

Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor

A Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing of labor and/or materials by the supplier to a Florida commercial project. For specially fabricated materials, the clock starts ticking as soon you start fabricating. A Notice to Owner should be sent no later than the 40th day from first furnishing using a USPS stamped manifest. If the notice is stamped by the 40th day, your NTO is considered served

Lien
90 days from last furnishing

Claim of Mechanic's Lien

A Claim of Mechanic's Lien must be sent by the supplier within 90 days of last furnishing of labor or materials to the commercial project in Florida.

What is your role on the project?
Statutory Documents are not required for General Contractors
Preliminary Notice
40th day from first furnishing

Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor

A Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing of labor and/or materials. For specially fabricated materials, the clock starts ticking as soon you start fabricating. A Notice to Owner should be sent no later than the 40th day from first furnishing using a USPS stamped manifest. If the notice is stamped by the 40th day, your NTO is considered served.

Claim on Bond
90 days from last furnishing

File Claim on Bond (Claim on Bond)

Subcontractor must file a Claim on Bond within 90 days of last furnishing of labor or materials to the Florida state project.

Preliminary Notice
40 days from first furnishing

Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor

A Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) must be received by the 45th day from first furnishing of labor and/or materials by the supplier to a Florida commercial project. For specially fabricated materials, the clock starts ticking as soon you start fabricating. A Notice to Owner should be sent no later than the 40th day from first furnishing using a USPS stamped manifest. If the notice is stamped by the 40th day, your NTO is considered served

Claim on Bond
90 day from last furnishing

File Claim on Bond (Claim on Bond)

Suppliers must file Claim on Bond within 90 days of last furnishing of labor or materials to the state project.

What is your role on the project?
Statutory Documents are not required for General Contractors
Preliminary Notice
Recommended but not required

Preliminary Notice

Although it is not a legal requirement to send a preliminary notice for federal projects, it is best practice for subcontractors to do so. Sending a preliminary notice advises all parties that you are working on the project and helps you get paid faster.

Claim on Bond
90 days from last furnishing

Miller Act Notice

A Miller Act Notice needs to be sent by subcontractors in 90 days from last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the federal project.

Preliminary Notice
Recommended but not required

Preliminary Notice

Although it is not a legal requirement to send a preliminary notice, it is best practice to do so for federal projects. Sending a preliminary notice advises all parties that you are working on the project and helps you get paid faster.

Claim on Bond
90 days from last furnishing

Miller Act Notice

A Miller Act Notice is required to be sent by the supplier 90 days from last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the federal project.

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Florida Lien Law Articles

Stay updated with our blog articles on Preliminary Notice, Notice of Intent to Lien, Mechanic's Lien and Bond Claim. We cover every update to lien law in all 50 states. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive all our updates.

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Florida Notice to Owner, Lien, and Bond Claim FAQs

Frequently asked questions on Florida notices to owners, mechanics lien and claim on bond

What happens when the GC files a Notice of Termination (NOT) on a Notice of Commencement (NOC) and I haven’t been paid?

From the date of the recording of the Notice of Termination you have only 30 days to record a lien or put a claim against the bond (Notice of Non-Payment). You have to lien for the amount you are owed including any retainage.

Send a new Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) once the new NOC has been recorded.

If I’m the General Contractor, can I lien a job if it’s under $2,500.00?

Yes, you may lien a project if it’s under $2,500.00, however, if you are a subcontractor to the GC and the contract between the owner and the GC is less than $2,500.00, you can’t lien the property.

What if I’m only owed retainage?

If you are the sub-subcontractor, working for another subcontractor, not for the General Contractor, then you should send a (NNP) Notice of Non-Payment (Claim on Bond), within 90 days from your last day on the job.

If you are the subcontractor working for the General Contractor who bonded the project, you don’t have to send a NNP however, below is the information you need to know in order to be able to file a suit within 1 year from your last day on the job, or to have an understanding of the time frame you have, to do so.

This is governed by subsection 10:

(10) An action, except an action for recovery of retainage, must be instituted against the contractor or the surety on the payment bond or the payment provisions of a combined payment and performance bond within 1 year after the performance of the labor or completion of delivery of the materials or supplies. An action for recovery of retainage must be instituted against the contractor or the surety within 1 year after the performance of the labor or completion of delivery of the materials or supplies; however, such an action may not be instituted until one of the following conditions is satisfied:

(a) The public entity has paid out the claimant’s retainage to the contractor, and the time provided under s. 218.735 or s. 255.073(3) for payment of that retainage to the claimant has expired;

(b) The claimant has completed all work required under its contract and 70 days have passed since the contractor sent its final payment request to the public entity; or

(c) At least 160 days have passed since reaching substantial completion of the construction services purchased, as defined in the contract, or if not defined in the contract, since reaching beneficial occupancy or use of the project.

(d) The claimant has asked the contractor, in writing, for any of the following information and the contractor has failed to respond to the claimant’s request, in writing, within 10 days after receipt of the request:

1. Whether the project has reached substantial completion, as that term is defined in the contract, or if not defined in the contract, if beneficial occupancy or use of the project has occurred.

2. Whether the contractor has received payment of the claimant’s retainage, and if so, the date the retainage was received by the contractor.

3. Whether the contractor has sent its final payment request to the public entity, and if so, the date on which the final payment request was sent.

If none of the conditions described in paragraph (a), paragraph (b), paragraph (c), or paragraph (d) is satisfied and an action for recovery of retainage cannot be instituted within the 1-year limitation period set forth in this subsection, this limitation period shall be extended until 120 days after one of these conditions is satisfied.

If I’m a supplier and my customer picked up the supplies at a branch, do I have lien rights?

The true test for lien rights is the actual incorporation of the materials into the project.  It’s essential to have a signed document from your customer stating that the materials will be incorporated into the specific location for improvement on the property.

What is a Florida Notice to Owner?

A Notice to Owner is a preliminary notice that must be sent by certified mail from the 40th day from first furnishing labor and/or materials to the project. A notice to owner needs to be received by the 45th from first furnishing labor and/or material. The only exception is for specially fabricated materials, materials that can only used for a specific project. The clock starts ticking as soon as you start fabricating materials not when you install the product. If you are not contracted directly with the owner of the project and wish to maintain your lien rights, you must send a notice to owner. General Contractors that are working directly with the owner may choose to send a Notice to Owner. This notice lets the owner and all other required recipients know that you will be securing your lien rights.

To learn more about Notices to Owners (NTOs), read the helpful article on "Why You Need a Notice to Owner in Florida?"

Can I send a Notice to Owner too early?

Yes, the Notice to Owner cannot be served prior to having an agreement in place, verbal is permissible but written is preferred, and under no circumstances can the NTO be served upon the owner and general contractor later than 45 days after work is commenced.

How do I fill out a Notice to Owner in Florida?

A Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO) is a statutory form that can be found in Section 713.06, Florida Statutes. The NTO is generally filled out by the subcontractor or supplier, or any party not directly contracted with the owner of the property.  

The following information must be included in the Florida Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor (NTO): (i) property owner name and address, (ii) owner designee name and address (if applicable), (iii) General contractor name and address; (iv) general description of work or materials and supplies provided for the job, (v) Property description, and (vi) Hiring party’s name and address.  

In addition, any party that is receiving a copy must be identified, the statutory warning language in mandatory, the lienor’s/sender’s name and the sender’s signature and date.  Need help filling out the form? Click here and create a Free online account.

Who has to cancel a Notice to Owner in Florida?

Many subcontractors and suppliers use the words “cancel an NTO” when they are done and paid in full on a project. The person that is responsible for “cancelling” or otherwise providing the Final Waiver and Release of Lien is the person that sent the Notice to Owner. Unless the owner of the property, general contractor, subcontractor that hired you request a waiver and release of lien you do not have to do anything else. Think of the waivers and releases as a receipt for payment. Need help with your waivers and releases of liens? Create them here for free.

How can I contest a Construction Lien in Florida?

A Notice of Contest of Lien is a form that is filled out by the owner of the property and recorded in the county in which the property is located.  A Notice of Contest of Lien shortens the deadline for the lienor to foreclose from 1 year to 60 days.

Read this helpful article to learn the detailed steps on "How to File a Construction Lien in Florida."

What is a Notice of Commencement in Florida?

A Notice of Commencement is a form that is filled out, recorded, and notarized by the owner of the property. Generally, it is required for permitted work over $2,500, but every municipality is slightly different. It is the obligation of the owner to ensure an NOC is properly prepared and recorded. Failure to properly prepare or timely record an NOC may impact how liens and lien rights affect an owner's property. Do you need help recording a Notice of Commencement? We can assist you in recording your NOC in every county in the state of Florida.

Click here to get started.

How do I file a Notice of Commencement in Florida?

A Notice of Commencement (NOC) is filed by an owner in the clerk's office of the county in which the project is located. There is specific language laid out in Florida Statute 713.13(1)(d) that must be included for a valid Notice of Commencement. An NOC is recorded in the county where the project is located.

Read this helpful article to learn the detailed steps on "What is a Notice of Commencement in Florida and What Must it Contain?"

How to put a lien on a property in Florida?

A lien is recorded in the county where the work is being done. For example, if you are working on a project in Miami, the lien would be recorded in Dade County.

Read this helpful article to learn the intricate steps on "How to File a Construction Lien in Florida"

Who files a Notice of Commencement in Florida?

It is the obligation of the owner to ensure an NOC is properly prepared and recorded. Failure to properly prepare or timely record an NOC may impact how liens and lien rights affect an owner's property. That being said, generally the General Contractor will prepare and record the Notice of Commencement for the owner of the property.

Need help? Click Here

Can a subcontractor file a lien without a Notice to Owner?

If you are not contracted directly with the owner of the property, you are required to send a Notice to Owner (NTO) if you wish to lien a property.

Need help? Click here to send a Notice to Owner.

Can an unlicensed contractor file a lien in Florida?

If a license is required for the type of work being performed, such as electrical work, then the contractor must hold a valid license to have lien rights.

What is a surety bond in Florida and how to get it?

A surety bond, also called a payment bond,  is a collection tool similar to a construction lien. A Construction Bond Claim (or a Bond Claim Notice) attaches to the bond in the event of non-payment, unlike a lien which attaches to the real property. Both private and public projects can be bonded. Lien rights do not apply to state-owned property as the  state government will not allow anyone to foreclose on government land. They have what is called sovereign immunity. Instead, you can claim your payment rights through a Construction Bond.  Are you required to bond your project?

Need help? Click Here.

How to file a Construction Lien in Florida?

A Florida Construction Lien, also known as a Mechanic's Lien, must be filed within 90 days of the last work or materials furnished to the job. The lien is recorded in the county in which the project is located, and the timeline does not include "punch list" work.

Read this helpful article to learn the detailed steps about "How to File a Construction Lien in Florida."

How do I make a Claim on a Bond for Construction?

A Claim on Bond, also referred to a Notice of Nonpayment is a not a complicated process. The first step is to make sure that all your ducks are in a row.  If you are not contracted directly with the General Contractor, you are required to send a Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor to secure your bond claim rights. The NTO must be received 45 days from first furnishing labor and/or material to the project.

The next step is to send the notice of nonpayment, also known as the claim on bond, to the General Contractor and the Surety. Now, just because you send the Notice of Nonpayment to the GC and the surety doesn’t guarantee that you are getting paid! That’s just one of the required steps. Most sureties are not going to just pay you because you sent a notice of nonpayment.

If you are still not paid after sending the notice of nonpayment you may want to consider hiring a construction attorney to file suit on the bond. You have 1 year from your last day of furnishing labor and/or materials to sue on the bond.

Read more here: How Do I Get Paid After I Make A Payment Bond Claim

Does a material supplier that is 4th tier have Bond Claim Rights?

On a Florida public project, a material supplier to a sub-subcontractor DOES HAVE rights against the general contractor’s bond. The same is also true on a Florida private project as to both lien and bond rights (if the private project is bonded).

Below would be the chain of command.

GC who bonded the project  ->  Sub  ->  Sub-sub  ->  Material supplier


To learn more about Florida's lien laws, attend our free monthly webinars by board-certified attorneys. Click here to join

I’m a General Contractor and didn’t record a Notice of Commencement (NOC) does that affect my lien rights?

No, it does not affect your lien rights. A GC can lien a job even if there is no NOC. A general contractor is not obligated to prepare or record the NOC.  Under Florida Law, that obligation belongs to the owner of the property.  However, many contractors assist owners in completing and recording the NOC to expedite the start of construction.  The NOC is generally needed for all construction that requires a permit or is over $2,500.  In certain situations, there may be exceptions for emergency work, but whenever possible, a Notice of Commencement (NOC) should be prepared and recorded.

When a Notice of Termination for the Notice of Commencement (NOC) is filed and I’m asked to sign a final waiver and release of lien but I haven’t gotten paid, what do I do?

Ideally, no subcontractor is signing an unconditional release unless they are contemporaneously receiving payment.   Any other situation would dictate using a conditional release (I give you a conditional release now, you give me a check later).  Separately, you now only have 30 days from the date of the Notice of Termination to lien for any amounts due, including all earned retainage and change orders AND you must serve a new Notice to Owner once with new NOC is recorded.

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