Florida Statute 713.3471

713.3471Lender responsibilities with construction loans

(1) Prior to a lender making any loan disbursement on any construction loan secured by residential real property directly to the owner, which, for purposes of this subsection, means only a natural person, into the owner's account or accounts, or jointly to the owner and any other party, the lender shall mail, deliver by electronic mail or other electronic format or facsimile, or personally deliver the following written notice to the borrowers in bold type larger than any other type on the page:

WARNING!

YOUR LENDER IS MAKING A LOAN DISBURSEMENT DIRECTLY TO YOU AS THE BORROWER, OR JOINTLY TO YOU AND ANOTHER PARTY. TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HAVING TO PAY TWICE FOR THE SAME LABOR, SERVICES, OR MATERIALS USED IN MAKING THE IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR PROPERTY, BE SURE THAT YOU REQUIRE YOUR CONTRACTOR TO GIVE YOU LIEN RELEASES FROM EACH LIENOR WHO HAS SENT YOU A NOTICE TO OWNER EACH TIME YOU MAKE A PAYMENT TO YOUR CONTRACTOR.

This subsection does not apply when the owner is a contractor licensed under chapter 489 or is a person who creates parcels or offers parcels for sale or lease in the ordinary course of business.

(2)(a) Within 5 business days after a lender makes a final determination, prior to the distribution of all funds available under a construction loan, that the lender will cease further advances pursuant to the loan, the lender shall serve written notice of that decision on the contractor and on any other lienor who has given the lender notice. The lender shall not be liable to the contractor based upon the decision of the lender to cease further advances if the lender gives the contractor notice of such decision in accordance with this subsection and the decision is otherwise permitted under the loan documents.

(b) The failure to give notice to the contractor under paragraph (a) renders the lender liable to the contractor to the extent of the actual value of the materials and direct labor costs furnished by the contractor plus 15 percent for overhead, profit, and all other costs from the date on which notice of the lender's decision should have been served on the contractor and the date on which notice of the lender's decision is served on the contractor. The lender and the contractor may agree in writing to any other reasonable method for determining the value of the labor, services, and materials furnished by the contractor.

(c) The liability of the lender shall in no event be greater than the amount of undisbursed funds at the time the notice should have been given unless the failure to give notice was done for the purpose of defrauding the contractor. The lender is not liable to the contractor for consequential or punitive damages for failure to give timely notice under this subsection. The contractor shall have a separate cause of action against the lender for damages sustained as the result of the lender's failure to give timely notice under this subsection. Such separate cause of action may not be used to hinder or delay any foreclosure action filed by the lender, may not be the basis of any claim for an equitable lien or for equitable subordination of the mortgage lien, and may not be asserted as an offset or a defense in the foreclosure case.

(d) For purposes of serving notice on the contractor under this subsection, the lender may rely on the name and address of the contractor listed in the notice of commencement or, if no notice of commencement is recorded, on the name and address of the contractor listed in the uniform building permit application. For purposes of serving notice on any other lienor under this subsection, the lender may rely upon the name and address of the lienor listed in the notice to owner.

(e) The contractor or any other lienor may not waive the right to receive notice under this paragraph.

(3)(a) If the lender and the borrower have designated a portion of the construction loan proceeds, the borrower may not authorize the lender to disburse the funds so designated for any other purpose until the owner serves the contractor and any other lienor who has given the owner a notice to owner with written notice of that decision, including the amount of such loan proceeds to be disbursed. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "designated construction loan proceeds" means that portion of the loan allocated to actual construction costs of the facility and shall not include allocated loan proceeds for tenant improvements where the contractor has no contractual obligation or work order to proceed with such improvements. The lender shall not be liable to the contractor based upon the reallocation of the loan proceeds or the disbursement of the loan proceeds if the notice is timely given in accordance with this subsection and the decision is otherwise permitted under the loan documents.

(b) If the lender is permitted under the loan documents to make disbursements from the loan contrary to the original loan budget without the borrower's prior consent, the lender is responsible for serving the notice to the contractor or other lienor required under this subsection.

(c) This subsection does not apply to a residential project of four units or less.

(d) This subsection does not apply to construction loans of less than $1 million unless the lender has committed to make more than one loan, the total of which loans are greater than $1 million, for the purpose of evading this subsection.

(e) The owner or the lender is not required to give notice to the contractor or any other lienor under this subsection unless the total amount of all disbursements described in paragraph (a) exceed 5 percent of the original amount of the designated construction loan proceeds or $100,000, whichever is less.

(f) Disbursement of loan proceeds contrary to this subsection renders the lender liable to the contractor to the extent of any such disbursements or to the extent of the actual value of the materials and direct labor costs plus 15 percent for overhead, profit, and all other costs, whichever is less. The lender is not liable to the contractor for consequential or punitive damages for disbursing loan proceeds in violation of this subsection. The contractor shall have a separate cause of action against the lender for damages sustained as the result of the disbursement of loan proceeds in violation of this subsection. Such separate cause of action may not be used to hinder or delay any foreclosure action filed by the lender, may not be the basis of any claim for equitable subordination of the mortgage lien, and may not be asserted as an offset or a defense in the foreclosure case.

(g) For purposes of serving notice on the contractor under this subsection, the lender may rely upon the name and address of the contractor listed in the notice of commencement or, if no notice of commencement is recorded, the name and address of the contractor listed in the uniform building permit application. For purposes of serving notice on any other lienor under this subsection, the lender may rely upon the name and address of the lienor listed in the notice to owner.

(h) For purposes of this subsection, the lender may rely upon a written statement, signed under oath by the contractor or any other lienor, that confirms that the contractor or the lienor has received the written notice required by this subsection.

(i) A contractor and any other lienor may not waive his or her right to receive notice under this subsection.

History.-s. 8, ch. 92-286; s. 820, ch. 97-102; s. 8, ch. 2003-177; s. 13, ch. 2005-227.