What To Do When You Miss A Deadline For Your Florida Mechanics Lien
Deadlines established by Florida’s mechanics liens statutes are abundant and sometimes confusing if you do not have a legal background. Unfortunately, the fact is that you could lose significant rights – and funds – if you do not comply with these time restrictions down to the last detail. The requirement to send notices by the proper date is a product of the unique arrangement when a subcontractor pursues a mechanics lien for nonpayment: The owner did not agree to the encumbrance on property and may not even know your security interest exists. To avoid an unfortunate surprise, the laws enable a defined process, and mechanics liens deadlines play a central role.
If you did inadvertently let a key deadline slip away, you may still have legal options. Florida law includes protections to ensure you get paid, and a Florida construction lien lawyer can advise you on other strategies to move payment along quickly. You might also benefit from some information on what to do when you miss a mechanics lien deadline.
- Double Check the Deadline: For subcontractors not in privity with the property owner, Florida mechanics lien time restrictions are typically based upon:
- When you FIRST furnished supplies or labor; since this is when you must send a Notice to Owner; and
- When you LAST furnished services, which triggers the requirement to file a mechanics lien within 90 days and forward a copy of the lien to the property owner within 15 days thereafter.
With these deadlines in mind, you may not have actually missed the key date. You could also have grounds to assign a later date because of a change order.
- Notify the Relevant Parties: If you unquestionably missed the deadline, you should still take the courteous route by sending notices to all parties. Remember that the owner may not know of your work, the specifics of your contract, or circumstances surrounding nonpayment. By forwarding this important information, you might motivate the property owner to pay so it can avoid legal hassles.
- Consider Taking Collection Action: If you have an internal collections department or outsource your accounts receivable, this strategy may also serve as a powerful motivator to get payment. However, sending the matter to collections is likely to resolve disputes over defects or performance.
- File a Lawsuit to Recover Payment: Though you do not have the mechanics lien tools as a method of enforcement, Florida law still allows for common law remedies. You might be able to sue for breach of contract, for which you can seek monetary damages as payment. An unjust enrichment is also a possibility, because you provided services as a benefit to the general contractor – who would otherwise enjoy a windfall by not paying you.
Speak to a South Florida Construction Lien Attorney About Your Options
Preserving your rights under a mechanics lien is the most effective, efficient strategy for making sure you get paid promptly, but it is reassuring to know that there are other remedies for nonpayment. For more information, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A., today to schedule a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL.