Notable Deadlines Under Florida Mechanic’s Liens Laws
When you consider the relationships between and among property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and other labor/materials suppliers, you can understand why Florida’s law on construction liens imposes precise deadlines. A mechanics lien is an involuntary encumbrance on the property: The owner did not specifically consent to it and may not even know that it exists, being in privity solely with the general contractor. To avoid surprises, state statutes require lienors to inform the owner of their interests promptly and in strict compliance with the law.
The implications can be severe for subcontractors who do not adhere to the deadlines, so it is critical to know the key dates that apply to every construction project. Your Florida construction lien attorney can explain them and handle the details, but be aware of the following deadlines for mechanics liens in Florida.
Requirements for Preliminary Notices: Because they do not have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner, subcontractors and laborers are required to send a Notice to Owner within 45 days after first providing services, materials, or labor to the project. This step ensures the property owner knows about the subcontractor’s financial interest and will not be surprised later by a mechanics lien.
Mechanics Liens Deadlines: To perfect a security interest and ensure payment, a subcontractor must file and record a mechanics lien on the property in the county in which it is located. The deadline is 90 days after furnishing labor, materials, or services, and the clock begins to run:
- On the last day work was performed in good faith;
- As designated by the contract;
- Within a reasonable time; or
- When the work was necessary to finish the project.
Timing on the Notice of Lien: When you file and record a mechanics lien, the information does not automatically make its way to the property owner. As such, you also need to forward your claim of lien either before filing it OR within 15 days thereafter. Service of the Notice of Lien is considered effective if you personally deliver, send via registered or certified mail with a delivery receipt, or post it in a visible place upon the property.
Legal Action to Enforce a Mechanics Lien: If your invoices have still gone unpaid and you must resort to litigation to recover the amount due, you have one year from the date you filed the mechanics lien. The only exception is where the owner contests your lien, in which case you must file a lawsuit within 60 days after.
A Florida Construction Lien Lawyer Can Advise You at Each Stage
You can avoid conflicts by complying with these and other deadlines that might apply to your Florida construction project, but it is helpful to work with a knowledgeable attorney who can advise you on critical issues. It is also important to discuss your interests if you missed deadlines, since there may be other options for recovering what you are owed. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. in Jupiter, FL.