Overview of Materialman’s Liens in Florida
It takes many different players to complete a successful construction project, from architects and design professionals to the general contractor and subcontractors. Also in the mix are those that provide supplies without providing services. These are materialmen as defined by Florida construction law. Whether they furnish supplies to the owner, a GC, or lower tier subcontractors, materialmen do not perform any labor or installation. In the same statutory section, the definition of “contractor” specifically excludes a materialman.
Therefore, many Florida construction suppliers may wonder about their lien rights if they do not get paid for the materials. To offer reassurance, yes, you do have options under the same laws that cover mechanics’ liens. You will need to comply with the requirements to secure your interests, and a Florida contractor representation attorney can assist with the process. A summary about materialmen’s liens is also useful.
Basic Lien Process for Construction Suppliers: Your strategy for protecting your lien rights and forcing payment must start early, before you have any concerns. There are four steps, along with important deadlines:
- You must deliver a Notice to Owner about your interests within 45 days after first delivering the materials or beginning work on specialty materials. If you have a direct contract with the owner, this notice is not necessary.
- Within 90 days after last furnishing the supplies to the project, you must file your mechanics lien. The Florida statute includes specifics on the information you need to include in the lien.
- After filing your lien, you have 15 days to serve a copy of it on the property owner.
- If you still do not receive payment, you have one year to sue the owner for a lien foreclosure. The clock runs from the date materialmen’s lien was filed.
Challenges and Limitations with Materialmen’s Liens: Using a lien is among the most effective ways you can get paid promptly, as the materials contactors are often low on the list as payments trickle down from the GC to other subcontractors. However, you may not have lien rights if:
- The materials you supplied are not actually used in the construction project. These supplies are often standard and can be incorporated into another project.
- You are supplying materials to another supplier who actually delivers them to the project.
- You do not strictly comply with the deadlines for construction liens.
Note that some suppliers of specialty materials may still have rights, even if the items are not used in the project. These are not able to be re-used.
Contact a Florida Contractor Representation Lawyer for Details
This overview on materialmen’s liens in Florida is helpful, but it is wise to rely on legal counsel for assistance with the requirements. Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. is prepared to tackle the essential tasks, from notices to filing and enforcement. We can also assist if you need to pursue other legal remedies for nonpayment. To learn more, please call 561-626-8880 or go online today to set up a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL.