Did You Provide Labor or Materials for a Construction Project Without Receiving Payment?
You have legal options available. Florida law provides contractors with considerable tools to seek fair compensation for the labor and materials that they have provided to a construction project. While all standard contract rights also still apply, other legal options are available as well. Specifically, you may be able to get a construction lien placed against the property. In certain circumstances, this tool is the best way to recover payment. In many cases, the mere threat of using a construction lien can be enough to help you secure the fair payment that you deserve.
Four Things Laborers and Suppliers Need to Know About Construction Liens
- Liens Can Be Attached to Any Type of Private Property
In Florida, construction liens can be attached to any type of private property. However, all forms of government property, including state and city property, are off limits. Though, even with private property, getting a lien attached can still be incredibly complex. This is particularly true if it is not clear who owns the property in question. You might run into this issue if you worked on a tenant improvement project. It is imperative that construction contractors have a clear view of the ownership interests in a property before beginning any work.
- You Only Have 90 Days to Take Action
Under Florida law, there is a strict 90 day limit to seek a construction lien. If you do not act within 90 days, you may lose out on this very powerful legal tool. Do not let this happen to you. The 90 day clock starts ticking from the last day that meaningful work was performed on the property. It is important to note that ‘meaningful work’ is often construed narrowly. This means that coming back to the worksite to make a minor repair might not be sufficient to restart the 90 day clock. If you have not been paid and you have already finished working, speak to a lawyer today.
- You Must Meet the Licensing Requirement
Only licensed contractors and subcontractors can get a construction lien. If your company was not properly licensed, this legal option will likely not be available to you. Florida courts will not enforce a construction lien that was obtained by an unlicensed firm.
- Proper Notice Must be Given to the Property Owner
Throughout the project, construction companies are required to provide appropriate notice to property owners. There should be a notice that informs the property owner of who is working on their property. All active contractors and subcontractors should be listed. If your company is working on a construction site, please ensure that you have notified the owner of that fact that you are there. The failure to do so could make any future construction lien unenforceable.
Contact Our Office Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach commercial litigation attorneys have extensive experience handling all aspects of construction-related disputes. If your company has not been paid for labor or supplies provided, or if you have any questions about protecting your company from potential non-payment, please contact our team today. We represent businesses throughout South Florida, including in Oakland Park, Miami and Coral Gables.