A lien grants an individual the right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged. This debt can be discharged by performing the promised action or by paying the debt with money or agreed-upon currency.
What is a Construction Lien?
A construction lien is a claim made against a property by a contractor or subcontractor who has not been paid for work done on that property. Florida Statute Section 713 controls the construction lien law in Florida. This Statute states that a construction line is available when: “those who work on your property or provide materials and services are not paid in full have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property.”
How Do You File a Construction Lien and How Long Does a Lien Last?
A construction lien lasts for a period of one (1) year in Florida unless a lienor files a lawsuit to enforce the lien prior to the expiration of the year. The owner of the property has a right to file a Notice of Contest of Lien during the one-year period.
You can raise a construction lien at any time during the construction project or within 90 days after the last day labor or materials were furnished to the property. In Florida, you do not need a written contract to file a contractor’s lien; however, sub-sub-subcontractors and suppliers to suppliers are examples of parties who do not have a right to file a lien in Florida. A written notice must be sent to the owner regarding the filing and recording of a lien in the county.
How Can You Avoid a Construction Lien?
There are several ways an owner can avoid a construction lien in Florida. One example is by requesting a legal statement in the contract that forbids a construction lien being filed against their property to begin with. This clause works by mandating a legal statement before any final payments are made, thus prolonging the possibility of nonpayment and therefore the filing of a lien. Another way is by stipulating in the contract that before any payment is made, your contractor is required to provide you with a written release of lien from any person or company that has provided to you a notice to owner.
If you are facing a construction lien or are looking to raise one against a property owner, is it highly advised you speak with an experienced business attorney to assist you with the process.