What is Mechanics Lien Law?
A mechanics or construction lien is a charge or claim placed on a property for the value of delinquent payments on services or materials provided in the improvement or construction of a building or structure. This law is generally designated for general contractors, subcontractors, laborers, or material and equipment providers. Design professionals who have a contract with an owner or general contractor may also file a lien after non-payment for services such as architecture, landscaping, engineering, surveying, or mapping.
The state guidelines for filing a mechanics lien are very specific, so it is highly recommended to consult with a St. Petersburg construction lien lawyer immediately to avoid missing strict deadlines that may forfeit the opportunity to recover payments. A contractor, subcontractor or materials provider only has 45 days after the “final furnishing” of labor or materials to file a “Notice to Owner” and only 90 days to file and serve the official lien documentation.
Steps to Filing a Mechanics Lien
Before filing a a construction lien, state law requires that a “Notice to Owner” be served as preliminary notification before filing official lien documentation. There are very specific provisions on how the the preliminary notification and official construction lien notice are to be served, so it is important that filing parties are knowledgeable of the mandated delivery process. Individuals or businesses have 45 days from the “final furnishing” of labor or services to send a “Notice to Owner.” This lien notice may only be signed by the affected party or their construction lien lawyer in St. Petersburg, and then provided through certified mail, posted at the job site, or directly served by the lien holder.
After the preliminary lien has been served, the official mechanics lien is to be filed within 90 days of the “final furnishing” of services. Paperwork must be drawn up by the clerk of the court or recorder’s office in the jurisdiction of the property location. The owner’s liability in the lien should be for the amount of unpaid labor, materials, and equipment supplied, along with the interest established in the contract. Attorney fees are not included in the lien amount, but may still be recovered once the case is presented in court. The notarized lien must be served within 15 days of filing with the clerk of the court or recorder’s office using the same guidelines as the preliminary lien notice.
Once the lien is served, the owner may file a request for the details of the lien, which is to be provided within 30 days by the lien holder. If payments are collected, the contractor or subcontractor must file a “Release of Lien” to show that all payments have been accepted and distributed to the appropriate parties. If necessary, the lien holder may file to foreclose on the lien and the property may be auctioned off or sold to recover the amount of the lien.
The Importance of Hiring a St. Petersburg Construction Lien Lawyer
Filing a mechanics lien can be a very long and complicated process. It is highly recommend to consult with a St. Petersburg mechanics lien law attorney to understand the appropriate legal procedure for filing and serving documentation. The deadlines and process for filing a lien are very specific and must be completely adhered to in order to recover unpaid debt from responsible parties. Cotney Construction Law has over 15 years combined experience working with construction industry professionals.
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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.