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Knowing When to Execute a Construction Lien


Construction projects proceed reasonably smoothly.  Typically, the contractor acts in a coordinating role, ensuring that each step of the project begins as the previous step is completed to minimize delay and inefficiency.  Each party involved has a role in the project – from subcontractors who must work efficiently in their specialty when called upon, to suppliers who must ensure that the materials are at the site when they are needed.  Owners also have roles – most often, to pay when the bill comes due and respond to questions when raised.  In most cases, this occurs without incident.  However, if payment is not forthcoming, the contractor, subcontractor or material supplier has a choice to make – execute a construction lien or work with the payor in an attempt to obtain payment.  This decision, which should be made in consultation with an attorney experienced with the Florida Construction Lien Law, has consequences – recording a Construction Lien could delay a project, but there is also no guarantee that working with the payor will result in payment.

Construction Lien Basics

Generally, a Construction Lien gives contractors and suppliers, a legal means to get paid for their work, as well as reimbursement for any materials or supplies purchased for a construction project. If a contractor or supplier improves a parcel of real estate and does not get paid, and satisfies any of the applicable technical requirements under the Construction Lien Law, the contractor or supplier may record, a Constriction Lien against the real estate being improved.  As the lien attaches to the title of the property, it becomes difficult for the owner of the property to sell or refinance the property without first paying off the debt secured by the lien.

When Payment Is Not Forthcoming

The requirements for filing a lien, and to be successful in enforcing one, are not simple.  There are a number of deadlines in the process and pitfalls which if not properly navigated may doom enforcement.  Accordingly, many contractors or suppliers may want to work with the payor to attempt to obtain their compensation before proceeding to record a Construction Lien.  The most common tends to be to maintain harmony or good relations on the project, perhaps coupled with the goal of not souring a relationship that might lead to future work.

Nevertheless, recording a Construction Lien is often the most appropriate remedy.  As there are strict deadlines, it is important to make a determination in a timely manner.  Losing this opportunity may eliminate the ability to recoup attorneys’ fees, or to even be able to collect at all.

Seek Legal Advice

If you have been involved in a construction project and have not received your due payment, talk to a Board Certified Construction Law Attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A.  understand what needs to be done to prepare and enforce Construction Liens and when it needs to be done, as well as other options for securing reimbursement. Contact our Jupiter office today.

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