Mechanic’s liens are an effective way for contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and suppliers to ensure that they get paid for the work they do on a construction project. In this blog, we explain the steps required for correctly filing a claim of lien in Florida.
Delivering the Notice to Owner
Most participants in a construction project are required to deliver a notice that protects their rights to file a mechanic’s lien. Anyone who did not contract directly with the project owner must deliver a Notice to Owner within 45 days of supplying materials or labor. Those who did contract with the owner must record a Notice of Commencement instead. The purpose of these notices is to advise the owner as to how many lien claimants they may potentially have to deal with.
If the notice is submitted by certified mail, Florida law has a statutory provision requiring the claimant to maintain a log of certified mail. Most people do this by keeping the green certified mail card with the original receipt, and stapling the return card to the original proof of service.
Completing the Lien Form
Florida law requires a mechanic’s lien, which is referred to in statute as a “claim of lien,” to contain certain key elements. They include:
- The name of the party who hired the claimant
- Description of the services, materials, or labor provided to the project
- The value or price of all services, materials, or labor as per the contract
- The legal description of the property
- The name of the property owner
- The date all services were first and last provided
- Amount due to the claimant
Once the form is completed, it must be recorded within a statutory time frame, which is within 90 days after last furnishing services, materials, or labor to the project.
Recording the Mechanic’s Lien
All claimants must record their mechanic’s lien with the property records of the county where the construction project is located. The Clerk of the Court for each Florida county maintains all property records, but in some counties, that duty is delegated to a recorder’s office. Claimants must ensure that they record their lien with the appropriate office.
Serving the Lien
Florida requires all claimants to serve a copy of the lien on the property owner either just before recording it or within 15 days afterwards. Service may be made in one of the following ways:
- By direct delivery to the person to be served or a party authorized to accept service (e.g. a limited liability company may be served by delivering the lien to a manager or member)
- Sending the lien by registered or certified mail or by overnight or second-day delivery
- Posting the lien on the premises if neither of the above options can be accomplished
Enforcing the Lien
Once a mechanic’s lien is served, it must be enforced within one year from the date it was originally recorded, although this deadline can be shortened to 60 days if the property owner indicates that they intend to contest the lien. Filing a summons and complaint to show cause on the lien shortens the deadline to only 20 days.
As you can see, filing and enforcing a mechanic’s lien in Florida can be highly complicated, which is why Rosen Law is committed to making sure that the process is carried out correctly. You don’t want to miss deadlines or even filing a lien at all if you have a valid claim. We give lien claimants experienced advice and driven representation, so that their right to compensation is properly preserved. Call our Florida office at (516) 437-3400 today!