Top Errors That Could Invalidate A Florida Construction Lien
As a Florida construction contractor, you know that your right to payment depends on liens when you are not in direct privity with the project owner. You also know that the potential for errors abounds considering the strict rules and timing requirements under Florida’s statute on construction liens. Mistakes do not extinguish your rights entirely, but they do limit your options in seeking payment for the labor, materials, and other construction-related service you furnished. When done properly, construction liens are a streamlined approach to avoiding the hassles of litigation.
Unfortunately, mistakes with liens are a widespread problem for contractors who are focused on project specifications and sticking to the construction schedule rather than chasing payment. It is wise to consult with a Florida construction lien lawyer to ensure compliance with the laws, which frees up your time to run your business. Legal advice is extremely important for avoiding the most common errors, such as:
Failure to Notify the Owner
If you did not directly contract with the owner, you are required to serve notice within 45 days of first providing labor and/or materials on the project. Note that forwarding the Notice to Owner should be done as quickly as possible regardless of the seemingly long deadline.
Not Properly Serving Notices to Parties
The general contractor must post a Notice of Commencement at the construction site; this document will include a list of all parties that are entitled to different notices throughout the project. When you are required to forward notices, you must do so by certified mail, return receipt requested according to the contact information on the Notice of Commencement.
Intentionally Misrepresenting the Amount Due
Fraud and misstatements regarding the among due and owing serves as a defense to your lien, so this is one mistake that can lead you to forfeit your rights. You might also be on the hook to pay attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by your misrepresentations.
Failing to File a Claim of Lien by the Deadline
Another strict deadline applies when you seek to pursue your interests, so you must record your Claim of Lien within 90 days after the last date you furnished labor and/or supplies.
Neglecting to Serve the Claim of Lien
After recording a Claim of Lien, you must then serve it upon the parties listed in the Notice of Commencement within 15 days.
Not Taking Action on the Lien Claim
Your lien remains valid and enforceable for one year after recording, so you must file a lawsuit to foreclose on it within this timeframe. A judge cannot enforce a lien that has expired, though you could still recover payment via a claim for damages.
Our Jupiter, FL Construction Liens Attorneys Help Contractors Avoid Errors
Just as you rely on your team to complete construction projects on time and within budget, it is important to count on legal counsel for assistance with construction liens. Our lawyers at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. are prepared to navigate the challenges, so please contact us to schedule a consultation. You can reach our offices at 561-626-8880 or via our website.