How a construction lien attorney can help you file your Claim of Lien
As is true for most things in life, “timing is everything”. This is especially true under Florida’s Construction Lien Law. As a construction law firm, a common mistake we see made by subcontractors, material suppliers, and even contractors who have a direct contract with the Owner, is failing to timely file their Claim of Lien. Making that mistake is fatal to your lien rights – end of story. By speaking with a construction attorney, you can avoid this mistake.
Some subcontractors think that their Notice to Owner serves as their Claim of Lien. It does not. The Notice to Owner is merely the first step a subcontractor or material supplier takes to preserve their right to record a Claim of Lien. But the Claim of Lien is its own, separate document that must also be completed properly and recorded timely to be enforceable.
Under Florida Statute §713.08, the Claim of Lien may be recorded at any time during the progress of the work or thereafter, but not later than 90-days after the final furnishing of the labor or services or materials by the lienor. This does not include punch list work. This timeframe cannot be extended by a written agreement or even with the written consent of the Owner. And take note; that to be effective the Claim of Lien must timely be recorded in the clerk’s office of the county where the property is situated. Service of the Claim of Lien on the Owner does not by itself preserve your lien rights.
What happens if the contractor or subcontractor who hired you is terminated from the project? How does that affect your timeframe for filing the Claim of Lien? In that case, the lien must be recorded within 90 days of the contractor being terminated, even if that date is sooner than or earlier than 90 days from your last work. During this situation, it may be wise to consult with a construction dispute lawyer.
For those who are not familiar with it, Florida’s Construction Lien Law is filled with traps. The lien laws are very technical and any misstep in the preparation or recording of a Claim of Lien can absolutely destroy your lien rights. Consult with a South Florida construction attorney, like me, Andrew Wyman, to obtain the tools and advice you need to make sure you properly and timely preserve your lien rights.