Construction liens are strictly enforced under Florida statutes and exist amid a land mine of statutory rules and regulations.
For the unwary homeowner, contractor, subcontractor, laborer, supplier or material man, one misinterpretation of the statutory structure could invalidate a lien for work actually performed or cause a homeowner to pay double for work performed.
At Yesner Law, we represent clients in Tampa and throughout Florida in a range of construction lien matters.
What Is A Construction Lien?
A construction lien is a legal instrument that enables contractors, subcontractors, laborers and material suppliers to enforce payment for the services, labor and materials that they provide for building or home remodeling projects.
Unfortunately, the homeowner could be liable for any outstanding payments to subcontractors and suppliers for any materials used or work performed on his or her property, regardless of whether the homeowner has paid the general contractor in full. Alternatively the contractor could lose the ability to be paid for work performed and materials used if the contractor or subcontractor fails to provide required documents to the homeowner. For this reason, property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, laborers and material men all need to strictly adhere to the statutory framework.
Common Terms In Construction Law
- Notice of Commencement: Notices of commencement (NC) are signed by the owner and recorded in the County Public Records. An NC is posted at the job site and contains the names and addresses of the owner, contractor, surety and others upon whom the lien must be served. The NC is valid for one year, and any payments made by the owner after the NC expires are improper and may result in the owner paying twice. Any lien based on the NC will have the same effective date as the date of recording the NC.
- Notice to Owner: A notice to owner (NTO) is required for all subcontractors, suppliers, laborers and material men not in a direct contractual relationship with the owner. The form must be served before the commencement of services, or after commencing if served within 45 days of commencement of services. Workers who fail to comply with the NTO rules may be unable to enforce liens for nonpayment.
- Claim of Lien: Recording a claim of lien (CL) is a prerequisite to forcing payment by the owner through foreclosure. There is a statutory form for a CL; however, a CL may only be prepared by the lienor, lienor's employee or lienor's attorney. The CL is valid for one year and must be recorded during the progress of the work or 90 days after the final furnishing of labor and materials. The homeowner can contest the CL and thereby shorten the time that it is a valid lien against the home. The homeowner can also post a bond and attach the lien to the bond, thus freeing the home from the CL.
Construction liens, like all areas of construction law, are complex. Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, laborers, material men or homeowners who are facing construction law issues should contact Yesner Law to learn more about the counsel an experienced lawyer can provide. Complete our online contact form or call 813-774-3013 to schedule a free consultation.