What can you include in your Claim of Lien?
“Greed is good.” While that famous line uttered in the movie Wall Streetmight apply to corporate raiders like Gordon Gecko, it does not apply to lienors under Florida’s Construction Lien Law. Emotional, unpaid subcontractors come to my construction law firm wanting to exact revenge on the people who haven’t paid them by trying to include any and every charge they can think of in their Claim of Lien: interest, attorneys’ fees, cost of filing the Claim of Lien, overhead, lost profits, and so on.
But that is not permitted under Florida’s Construction Lien Law. You can only record a Claim of Lien for the work you have actually performed or for the materials you have furnished to the project. You cannot include amounts for unperformed work, even if you were wrongfully terminated from the project. You can add unpaid finance charges, but you cannot include any other administrative costs or attorneys’ fees in your Claim of Lien. You also cannot include lost profits or overhead or costs related to the preparation of the lien. Including impermissible charges in your Claim of Lien not only invalidates your lien, but it can subject you to liability for recording a fraudulent Claim of Lien.
Florida Statute §713.08 identifies the important and required information that you or your construction lien attorney must also include in your Claim of Lien aside from the value of your work performed and amounts unpaid. Generally, this includes the legal description of the property, the first and last dates that you furnished labor, services or materials to the project, the identity of the owner and the description of the work you performed, the date you served your Notice to Owner and certain statutory warnings. An experienced construction lien lawyer can help guide you through the process of gathering this information.
Florida’s construction lien law is very technical, and the slightest mistake can destroy your lien rights. Be sure to consult with a South Florida construction litigation lawyer who understands the lien law and who can provide you with the resources you need to always protect your lien rights.
If you have questions about Claim of Liens, contact me today to learn more.