Florida Contractor Lien Rights When Working On Leased Property
In the most basic Florida construction project, you have a property owner, developer, and contractors that all play a role in completing the job. Of course, these projects are rarely as straightforward as this description. The nature of real estate may bring many other parties into the equation, and one of the most common challenges involves the landlord-tenant relationship. Contractors may have lien rights on a property where they perform work, but these can be in question when it is a tenant that contracted for the project. Florida construction lien laws cover such a situation, and the details are complicated as they apply to different scenarios.
Any contractor that performs work for a lessee must be aware of how the statute works and its application to different parties, as there are important implications for your lien rights. A Florida construction liens attorney can provide additional details, but an overview of lien rights in lessor-lessee arrangements is helpful.
Lessor-Lessee Agreements: The statute includes a provision that covers a very common situation that arises between parties in a commercial lease: The build out. When leasing commercial or retail space, a tenant will often have specific requirements based upon the type of business they will operate. The provisions are included in the lease, so the landlord is agreeing to the terms of the build out when signing the document.
Therefore, the statute provides that any lien rights the contractor has against the tenant also extend to the lessor when there is an agreement for renovations. A related concept comes through common law, which focuses on the “pith” of the lease. When the terms of the lease are clear that both parties intended that improvements be made, and the lease would not have been executed without them, the contractor has lien rights.
Contractor’s Lien Rights: If there is no agreement and the tenant acts on its own to contract for renovations, the contractor can still claim a lien. However, the statute states that the lien rights only extend to the right, title, and interest of the party contracting – as they exist at the time the contractor begins work. In other words, the lien rights exist against the lessee, not the lessor.
Tips for Contractors: Based on the foregoing, you can see that the best way to protect contractor lien rights is to know exactly what is going on between the landlord and tenant. You should always request a copy of the lease, and have your attorney review it carefully to determine what the lessor has agreed to in terms of renovations.
A Florida Construction Liens Lawyer Can Explain Details
This summary helps you understand the key issues when contractors perform work for a tenant, and you can see why it is important to perfect your lien rights. To learn more about the process and requirements, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. by calling 561-626-8880 or visiting us online. We can set up a consultation with an experienced construction liens attorney at our offices in Jupiter.