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Perfecting a Lien in Florida

When it comes to perfecting a lien against an owner that refuses to pay, contractors need to have a thorough understanding of the lien process and its many pitfalls. Let’s face it, nonpayment is a prevalent issue in the construction industry, and the mechanic’s lien is the most tried-and-true method of payment procurement. Therefore, you have to be aware of a myriad of lien-related concerns, including:

  • Required Information 
  • Pre-Lien Notices (Subcontractors)
  • Lien Deadlines
  • Enforcement Deadlines

However, this only scratches the surface of what contractors need to know about their lien rights. As you receive money for a project, you need to be certain that you are following the proper procedures for releasing your lien rights, too. In this editorial, a West Palm construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will discuss three lien release mistakes that every Florida contractor should know about in order to prevent disputes and save money. If you need assistance filing a mechanic’s lien, consult a West Palm construction attorney.

Mechanic’s Liens Are Everywhere

The Sunshine State contains one of the most prolific segments of the construction industry. Nary a day goes by without a developer coming up with a new idea for something to build in Florida, and it’s not hard to see why — perpetual sunshine, world-class beaches, and a rapidly increasing population — Florida has everything you could want as a contractor. Unfortunately, it’s also a state plagued by nonpayment and construction disputes, which means understanding your lien rights is vital if you want to keep your construction business afloat.

Dealing With Deadlines

Lien deadlines are one of the biggest obstacles for contractors attempting to procure due payment. There’s a lot of confusion out there regarding preliminary notice deadlines, filing deadlines, serving deadlines, and enforcement deadlines. So, before we move forward, let’s brush up on the basic lien deadlines every contractor should be aware of.

General Contractors

  • Preliminary Notice Deadline: None
  • Filing Deadline: Within 90 days of final provision of labor or materials.
  • Serving Deadline: Within 15 days of the mechanic’s lien filing.
  • Enforcement Deadline: Generally, one year from the date the lien was filed; however, certain actions on the part of the owner can shorten this deadline. Consult a West Palm construction attorney for more information

Subcontractors

  • Preliminary Notice Deadline: The earliest of…(1) 45 days after the first provision of labor or materials…(2) 45 days after initiating work on specialty materials… (3) Prior to final payment from owner to general contractor.
  • Filing Deadline: Within 90 days of final provision of labor or materials.
  • Serving Deadline: Within 15 days of the mechanic’s lien filing.
  • Enforcement Deadline: Generally, one year from the date the lien was filed; however, certain actions on the part of the owner can shorten this deadline. 

Serving up the proper lien notices by the correct deadlines is a challenge faced by all contractors. This process can be confusing and frustrating, but you don’t have to bear this burden alone. Consult a Boca Raton construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law for all of your mechanic’s lien needs, including assistance with filing and enforcement.

Safeguarding Lien Rights

Let’s start with a tricky question for subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and suppliers: What do you do when you receive a release stating that you have been paid when, in actuality, you haven’t? You may very well have given up your lien rights without knowing any better if you accepted the release without reading the fine print. Once you sign, it’s hard to walk it back, so you can’t afford to be negligent when it comes to safeguarding your lien rights.

A Boca Raton construction lawyer can help you make your release conditional by adding language that renders any forfeiture of lien rights contingent on full or partial payment in exchange for services. You’ll have to be specific with the amount you are owed, so make sure you have all of the necessary payment information available when you contact a Boca Raton construction lawyer.

If you would like to speak with a Boca Raton construction attorney, please contact us today.

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.