Filing a mechanic's lien in Florida will protect contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and laborers from nonpayment by owners and general contractors on construction and home improvement projects. One of the requirements of the Florida lien laws states that a contractor not in privity (direct contact with the owner of record) must file a notice to owner/contractor prior to filing a mechanic's lien. Other requirements list specific deadlines for filings. Individuals wishing to protect their lien rights must pay particular attention to preliminary filing requirements and deadlines to ensure the validity of the lien.
Prepare a Notice to Owner or Notice to Owner/Contractor form within 45 days of the date you first provided material or labor for the job. All contractors, subcontractors, laborers and material/equipment suppliers who do not have a direct contract are required under Florida statutes to serve the owner and/or general contractor with this notice for preservation of their lien rights.
File or serve this notice on the property owner of record and/or the general contractor either by sending a copy via certified mail, overnight delivery, requiring signature or presenting a copy in person. This information is found on the Notice of Commencement posted on the job site next to the building permit.
Prepare and file a mechanic’s lien with the clerk of the court in the jurisdiction where the project is located within 90 days of your final furnishing of labor and/or materials for the project.
Serve the owner and general contractor (if any) a copy of the mechanic’s lien within 15 days of recording.
In 2007 an amendment was entered in the Florida statutes clarifying the term “final furnishing” of labor. This term includes the last work on the project and does not include punch or warranty-related items. Some Florida counties also have a recorder’s office in addition to the clerk’s office. If the project you are working on is located in a county such as this, file your lien in the recorder’s office. Subcontractors must serve notice to the general contractor as well as the owner of a project. No liens are permitted against government property.
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