Proper Payments: A Defense Against a Claim of Lien
No one likes to pay more than they have to, especially for something they’ve already paid for. Sadly, this is a common occurrence in the construction industry. As expert lien attorneys, our Orlando construction lawyers have represented many in the construction industry that have not received payment for services or materials they have provided for projects. Likewise, we have defended property owners against claims of lien on their property even after paying their contractor in full. They’ve done their due diligence and in good faith expected the contractor to pay their subcontractors and suppliers.
Under Construction Lien Law, a lienor has recourse for nonpayment and can file a claim of lien to enforce their lien rights. Moreover, property owners have defenses to prevent a lien from being placed on their property. One of the ways to do so is by making proper payments.
How to Make Proper Payments
Making proper payments is crucial for limiting liabilities and paying double for work you’ve already paid for. Use the following to evaluate your payment procedures.
- Get a Release of Lien from all lienors (including the general contractor) that have served a Notice to Owner before making a progress or partial payment to the general contractor.
- Request an affidavit from the contractor that verifies that every lienor has been paid thus far.
- Before making a final payment to the contractor get a Final Contractor’s Affidavit that verifies lienors have been paid.
- If some lienors have not been paid, make sure they are paid before submitting your final payment.
- Payments should not be made after a Notice of Commencement has expired.
- For those lienors that have not served a Notice to Owner, you are not responsible for paying unless they still have time to file a Notice to Owner and have given you a Release of Lien.
We can’t stress enough how the complexity of construction liens and only can only provide you guidelines. Learn more about Chapter 713.06 of the Florida Statutes which gives a detailed breakdown of how persons who are not in direct privity to an owner can enforce lien rights. The statute also instructs owners on how to protect themselves. Finally, contact an attorney who is intimately familiar with the lien process so you’ll be better equipped to defend yourself.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.