Florida Construction Claim of Lien (Mechanics Lien)

When it comes to construction projects, ensuring proper payment is crucial for all parties involved. In the state of Florida, construction professionals have a powerful tool at their disposal to secure payment and protect their interests: the Construction Claim of Lien. This legal mechanism serves as a valuable safeguard for contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other construction stakeholders. In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of construction claims of lien in Florida and shed light on how they can be used effectively to preserve your rights and enforce payment.

What is a Construction Claim of Lien?

A construction claim of lien, often referred to simply as a "lien," is a legal claim filed against a property by a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or other construction professional who has provided labor, materials, or services for the improvement of that property. The purpose of a lien is to secure payment for the work performed or materials supplied.

Florida's Construction Lien Law

Florida's Construction Lien Law, found in Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, governs the process of filing and enforcing construction claims of lien. It establishes specific requirements and procedures that must be followed to ensure the validity and enforceability of a lien.

Who Can File a Construction Claim of Lien?

In Florida, various parties involved in a construction project may be eligible to file a construction claim of lien. These parties typically include general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, and even laborers who have provided services or materials to the project.

Timelines and Notice Requirements

To protect your rights and ensure a valid lien, it is essential to comply with specific timelines and notice requirements outlined in Florida law. Here are a few important points to consider:

  1. Notice to Owner: Most lien claimants, except for general contractors, are required to serve a Notice to Owner within 45 days of commencing work or supplying materials. This notice informs the property owner that you are providing services or materials and preserves your right to file a lien in case of non-payment.

  2. Notice of Commencement: It is crucial to identify whether a Notice of Commencement has been filed for the project. This document, typically filed by the property owner, provides essential information about the project, including the property description and the contractor's information.

  3. Lien Filing Deadline: The deadline for filing a construction claim of lien in Florida is 90 days from the final furnishing of labor, services, or materials. Failing to file within this timeframe may result in the loss of your lien rights.

  4. Lien Foreclosure Lawsuit: To enforce your lien and secure payment, you must initiate a lien foreclosure lawsuit within one year of filing the lien. Failure to do so will render the lien unenforceable.

Benefits of Filing a Construction Claim of Lien

Filing a construction claim of lien offers several benefits for construction professionals seeking payment:

  1. Priority: A properly filed and recorded lien creates a priority interest in the property, ensuring that you have a legal claim over other unsecured creditors.

  2. Security: The lien acts as a security interest, allowing you to seek payment from the proceeds of the property's sale if necessary.

  3. Negotiation Power: Having a valid lien puts you in a stronger position to negotiate payment or settle disputes, encouraging prompt resolution.

  4. Legal Recourse: If all else fails, filing a lien provides you with the option to pursue legal action to enforce your claim and recover the amount owed.

Understanding construction claims of lien is essential for protecting your rights and securing payment in the construction industry. By complying with the requirements outlined in Florida's Construction Lien Law, construction professionals can safeguard their interests and navigate the complexities of payment disputes effectively.

Given the intricacies of lien filing and enforcement, it is advisable to consult with an experienced construction law attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure compliance with all legal requirements. With their expertise, you can assert your rights, mitigate financial risks, and maintain a strong position in construction-related disputes.

Contact a Rashkin Law attorney to discuss your Construction Claim of Lien.