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Overview Of Construction Liens For Florida Design Professionals

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Whether you are a design professional or work with them on a regular basis, you know the important role these individuals play in a Florida construction project. Architects, engineers, and others are essential for preparation, planning, getting permits, and establishing a solid framework. Because their participation is so critical for success, Florida law provides a lien for professional services. The statute operates in similar fashion to mechanics liens covering other subcontractors and parties not in privity of contract.

However, there are key differences that design professionals and those who work with them need to know. It is wise to consult with a Florida construction liens attorney regarding the details, since legal requirements can be complicated and legal deadlines could impact your interests. An overview may be useful as a guide to the basics.                             

Synopsis of Florida Law on Liens for Design Professionals 

The statute provides a lien for individuals who perform designated services in connection with a construction project, including architects, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers, surveyors, and mappers. There are two key sections that cover liens for professional services:

  1. Design professionals have a lien for services provided in connection with improving the property and supervising others, when rendered in accordance with:
    1. Their own contract for services; and
    2. The direct contract or contract with the owner of real property.

This section exclusively applies to improvements to the property.

  1. A design professional lien also applies when the individual delivers services under a direct contract for a specific parcel, even if that property is not actually improved. In other words, the property owner could decide to go with a different design professional or completely abandon the project – but the design professional can still get paid. The lien rights are preserved by privity of contract. 

Requirements for Securing Lien Rights 

The allowance of a lien for design professionals is a separate concept from actually securing it. By law, these individuals must record the claim of lien within 90 days after final furnishing of professional services. They also need to provide the property owner with a copy of the lien. However, design professionals do not have to comply with the technical requirements for other subcontractors and suppliers, such as service the Notice to Owner within 45 days of initial work. 

Priorities for Lien Rights 

Though there is more flexibility for design professional liens, all parties involved with the construction project should be aware that the lien takes priority over others from the date that it is recorded. This is not the case for other contractors, whose liens relate back to the Notice of Commencement that is recorded in the county where the construction takes place. 

Set Up a Consultation with a Palm Beach County Construction Liens Lawyer

This overview of design professional liens is helpful, but there are additional details that apply. For more information on construction liens in Florida, please contact Linkhorst Law Firm, P.A. We can schedule a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL. After learning more about your circumstances, our attorneys can advise you on the details.

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