For contractors, getting paid is never as simple as it should be. Owners have a tendency to drag their feet once the time to start writing checks has arrived, which can frustrate contractors to no end. Here’s the deal: getting paid can be a serious pain, even if you’ve conducted yourself in a professional manner. As Miami construction lawyers, we’re familiar with the struggles of contractors and have made it a principle to do everything we can to make the process of procuring due payment as simple as possible.
Once a project is complete and you’re ready to move on, an unscrupulous owner shouldn’t be the one thing stopping you from breaking ground on your next project. In cases such as these, a mechanic’s lien may be needed to secure payment, in which case a final affidavit must be sent at least five days prior to foreclosing on the lien. In this editorial, a Miami construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will discuss everything there is to know about collecting final payment on a construction project.
When Can I Ask for Final Payment?
Any contractor working directly with the owner must send a final affidavit in compliance with Florida lien law before requesting final payment. This document isn’t discussed as frequently as others pertaining to Florida lien law, but it’s essential nonetheless. Fortunately for subcontractors, they don’t have to worry about the final affidavit as they aren’t locked into contractual privity with the owner. That doesn’t mean the general contractor is the only party who has to worry about this affidavit, specialists contracting directly with the owner are also responsible.
If you aren’t sure whether or not your contract qualifies as privity, consult a Miami construction lawyer before you proceed with any ill-advised actions. We can make sure that all of your lien-related notices and documents are filed and delivered in accordance with Florida law. You can’t afford to ignore this important document. The final affidavit ensures that owners don’t pay for the same work twice. Maintaining your professional relationships with owners relies on transparency and honesty, so if you want to grow your business, you need to be certain that you’re meeting all of your legal obligations.
When Should I Send a Final Affidavit?
The final affidavit must be sent at least five days prior to the foreclosure of your lien. Failure to meet these deadline requirements will lead to a loss of lien rights. There’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to these deadlines, which is why many contractors prefer to let a Miami construction attorney handle this process.
The recommended format for a final payment affidavit can be found in the 2019 Florida Statutes. Don’t forget that this document is to be drafted and signed under oath in the presence of a notary in order to remain valid. Before you file any invalid lien documentation, consult a Miami construction attorney to preserve your lien rights and obtain prompt payment from an owner who refuses to pay.
Related: Filing a Claim of Lien in Florida
Consult a Miami Construction Attorney
There’s nothing wrong with attempting to obtain payment with a mechanic’s lien, and it doesn’t have to compromise your professional relationships — when handled properly. That said, differentiating between the various lien documents can be troublesome for contractors, so we recommend partnering with a Miami construction attorney to reduce the chance of the wrong document being mistakenly served.
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.