Subcontractor Nonpayment: Quick, Effective Remedies Under Florida Law
Unlike larger general contractors that have the resources and infrastructure to take on multiple, large-scale construction projects, many Florida subcontractors are smaller businesses. They dedicate all efforts on a per-project basis and operate on narrow margins, so not getting paid has disastrous, immediate consequences. If your company is facing such a situation, you may be generally aware that subcontractors have remedies for nonpayment and that you will eventually receive the amount due. However, you may not be aware that Florida law provides unpaid subcontractors with an option to expedite legal relief under certain circumstances.
Still, there are strict requirements you must meet to take advantage of the Florida subcontractor quick payment remedy. It is wise to work with a Florida contractor representation lawyer to discuss this remedy and other strategies for getting paid promptly. You might benefit from reviewing some basics about the law.
Qualifying for Swift Legal Remedies
The Florida statute applies to situations in which the party supplying labor or materials is not in privity with the property owner, so most subcontractors will qualify under this factor. However, there are additional criteria you must meet to take advantage of this quick-pay remedy.
- The subcontract must have completed all required work or provided all materials according to the construction contract;
- There cannot be a dispute over whether the subcontractor is owed money and/or has not been paid; AND
- The general contractor has already been paid for the project.
Legal Action for Unpaid Florida Subcontractors
By meeting the above requirements, a subcontractor has standing to sue the general contractor for nonpayment right away. Many of the same remedies available to a party in privity with the owner are available. You can file a lawsuit in court to obtain a cash judgment, but there is one key point in your favor under the statute: Your case will proceed to an evidentiary hearing within 15 days after filing. If the judge finds that you should have been paid and were not, the court can move quickly to order payment.
Plus, there are other forms of relief provided in the statute:
- You can request an accounting on how any funds paid to the general contractor were spent, used, deposited, or otherwise applied.
- You may opt to file a lawsuit for an injunction, which is a court’s order directing the contractor to pay or face sanctions.
- It is possible to attach the contractor’s bank accounts for the amount due.
In addition, you may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees expended in connection with your efforts to obtain payment.
Discuss Remedies with Our Palm Beach County Contractor Representation Attorneys
Nonpayment puts Florida subcontractors in a very difficult financial position, so it is reassuring to know that there are remedies to ensure you obtain amounts due quickly. However, considering the complexities of the law, you are at a disadvantage if you attempt to represent yourself in pursuing payment. To learn how our team can assist, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. We can set up a consultation to review your details and determine how to move forward.