If you have furnished labor, services or materials on a construction project in Florida and have outstanding payments due, then filing a mechanics lien is the instrument you will want to utilize to ensure payment from the property owner. Florida grants lien rights to most project contributors including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and laborers. However, be wary, Chapter 713, Florida Statutes, provides that certain project contributors must have obtained the proper license upon the date established in the original contract or upon providing services in order to claim lien rights. The following steps will help guide you in filing a valid claim of lien in Florida.
Step 1: Prepare and Serve a Notice to Owner
This Notice to Owner is a form establishing your right to file a claim of lien on the property. Under Florida Statutes, all project contributors mentioned above who do not have direct contracts with the property owner, must prepare and serve this Notice to Owner within 45 days of commencing their work in order to preserve their lien rights. In other words, those who do not have direct contracts with the property owner seeking to file a claim of lien must prepare and serve this Notice of Owner even if you are not owed any money at the time.
Step 2: Prepare Claim of Lien Document
Section 713.08 of the Florida Statutes, provides the proper form and specific requirements to complete the claim of lien document such as: name and address of lienor, statement of labor and materials provided, description of the property, name of property owner, lien amount, proof of service and the proper warning to include at the beginning of the document.
Step 3: Serve the Claim of Lien
Under Florida law, the claim of lien must be served – either in person, by mail or posting the claim on the premises – on the property owner either before recording or within 15 days after recording the lien. Section 713.08(4), Florida Statutes, provides that the failure to serve the claim of lien in the applicable timeframe will render the lien voidable.
Step 4: Record the Claim of Lien
The claim of lien must be recorded in the clerk’s office in the county where the property is located, at any time during the progress of the work or upon completion, but not later than 90 days of the final providing of labor, services or materials by the lienor. If it is not recorded, the lien will be invalid unenforceable.
Although this procedure seems straight forward, Florida’s lien law is complex with many deadlines and nuances you should be aware of. You should consult with one of our experienced and licensed Miami construction attorneys to ensure that your rights are protected.