A mechanics lien is the most powerful collection tool available to a construction professional. Though a lien is often an effective means of securing payment, it is also unfortunately easy to lose your lien rights.
Lien law is riddled with nuances, deadlines, and complexities, and as Orlando construction attorneys, we know how to navigate these waters. Today we are here with the fourth part of a five-part series on filing a mechanics lien in Florida. If you have not read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, we recommend beginning there.
Do You Qualify for Lien Protection?
Before you try to file a lien, you must ascertain whether or not you have lien rights. Even in the absence of a written contract, the following groups typically have lien protection in Florida:
- Material suppliers
- Equipment rental companies
On the other hand, the following groups typically do not have lien protection:
- Suppliers to sub-sub-subcontractors
- Suppliers to suppliers
- Anyone without a valid license who is required to be licensed
- Maintenance workers
Know How Long Your Lien is Enforceable
You may have successfully placed a lien on a property, but if it expires before you are paid then all your diligence will have been in vain.
Mechanics liens are only effective for a certain amount of time, and sometimes these windows are shorter than one would expect. Once the lien has expired, it becomes invalid and unenforceable. To prevent this from happening, you can file a lawsuit to enforce the lien and foreclose upon the property.
In Florida, this must be done within a year of the lien being recorded; however, there are two exceptions. They are:
- If the property owner serves a Notice of Contest of Lien, the foreclosure period is reduced to 60 days.
- If the property owner files a lawsuit complaint and summons with a rule to show cause on the mechanics lien, the foreclosure period is reduced to 20 days.
Working with an experienced Orlando construction attorney can help you navigate any situations that arise after you have filed your lien.
This article is continued in Part 5.
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.