Construction Lien Law in Florida

In Florida, a contractor who furnishes labor, services or materials for the improvement of real property is entitled to a lien on such property if he is not paid. 

If the contractor is not in privity with the owner (or in other words, has no direct contract), he must first notify the owner in writing that he is performing work on the project before he can file a lien. 

The notice must be either hand-delivered or served by certified or registered mail no later than 45 days after the contractor begins work on the project.

The contractor must record a Claim of Lien with the clerk of court in the county where the property is located within 90 days of last furnishing labor, services or materials for the improvement of the property. 

The contractor must serve a copy of the Claim of Lien on the owner and lender (if any) within 15 days of recording to protect its lien rights. 

The Claim of Lien must contain the following:
a) the name and address of the lienor;
b) the name of the person with whom the lienor contracted;
c) the services or material furnished and the contract price or value thereof;
d) a description of the real property;
e) the owner's name;
f) the first and last date labor, services or materials were furnished;
g) the amount remaining unpaid; and
h) the date and method of serving the notice to owner.

Commencement of Suit to Enforce Lien
Suit must be filed within 1 year from the date the lien is recorded or the lien will expire. 

If an owner sends the contractor a Notice of Contest of Lien, then the time to file a lawsuit is shortened from 1 year to 60 days from the date the Notice of Contest was mailed to the claimant by the Clerk of Court. 

This is one of several statutory land mines that may result in an unwary contractor losing his lien rights.

Waiver of Lien Rights
A Lien Waiver is a signed, notarized statement that states that the contractor has been paid for all work performed through a specific date. 

The right to claim a lien cannot be waived in advance. Parties are free to create a partial release or
"Conditional Lien Waiver" to ensure the contractor will be paid or their waiver will not be effective.

Attorney's Fees
The prevailing party an any action under Chapter 713 (the Florida Lien Statute) is entitled to recover his reasonable attorney's fees in any litigation.

You can also read my post on Louisiana Lien Law.
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