If you provide services or materials to a construction project, you expect to be paid per the terms of your contract with the property owner, contractor or subcontractor. Florida law recognizes this and allows those who are not paid what they are owed to pursue a construction lien.
Basics on construction liens
Under Florida law, a construction lien allows you to obtain a security interest in the property if you are not being paid per the terms of your contract.
Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and laborers can all file for a construction lien for work performed but unpaid. Architects, engineers and other design professionals are also eligible to file a construction lien. However, you must be licensed in order to file a construction lien.
There are deadlines for filing for a construction lien. The lien must be filed no later than 90 days from the last time you furnished labor or materials or the end of the contract, whichever happened first. You can, however, file a lien at any time earlier during the course of the project for work being performed on the project.
What should be included in a Claim of Lien?
Your construction lien, filed as a Claim of Lien, must include the following information. It must contain the name and address of you, the property owner and the hiring party. It must describe the property well enough that it can be identified.
A Claim of Lien must describe the work or materials you provided, as well as the dates these items were first furnished and last furnished. It must contain the amount due and what remains unpaid as well as the total contract amount.
A Claim of Lien must contain the date that you provided the property owner, contractor and/or subcontractor with preliminary notice. Preliminary notice is given to notify the owner, contractor or subcontractor that you intend to file a construction lien if you are not paid what you are owed.
There is a certain statutory warning that you must include in your Claim of Lien. The language of the warning can be found in Florida statutes. Finally, you must sign your Claim of Lien.
Filing a construction lien in Florida can be complicated. There are laws and regulations that must be followed so the lien can be valid and enforceable. Many of those pursuing a construction lien choose to work with a legal professional so they can understand all that is required of them.