In Florida, filing a mechanic's lien is a legal recourse available to contractors and other construction professionals who have provided labor, materials, or services for a project but have not been paid. Here's an overview of the process for filing a mechanic's lien in Florida:
- Understand the Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the requirements and procedures for filing a mechanic's lien in Florida. It's crucial to ensure that you meet the necessary criteria to assert a valid lien. For example, you must have a valid contract with the property owner or a direct contractual relationship with the party who hired you for the project.
- Notice to Owner: Before filing a mechanic's lien, Florida law requires that you serve a Notice to Owner (NTO) within 45 days of commencing work on the project. The NTO notifies the property owner of your involvement in the project and preserves your right to file a lien if payment issues arise.
- Prepare the Lien Claim: To file a mechanic's lien, prepare a written statement called a Claim of Lien. The claim must include specific information, such as the property owner's name, property description, the amount owed, a description of the work performed, and the dates when the work was started and completed.
- Record the Lien: File the Claim of Lien with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the property is located. You must record the lien within 90 days from the last date you provided labor, materials, or services for the project.
- Serve the Lien: Serve a copy of the recorded lien on the property owner and any other parties with an interest in the property, such as mortgage holders or other lienors. Service must be completed within 15 days of recording the lien.
- Enforce the Lien: If payment is still not received after filing the lien, you may need to take legal action to enforce the lien. This typically involves filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien and seek a judgment for the amount owed.
It's important to note that the mechanic's lien process in Florida can be complex, and strict adherence to the statutory requirements is crucial. Consulting with an attorney who works in construction laws and understands the complexities and deadlines is recommended to ensure compliance with the specific rules and deadlines in your case. They can guide you through the process, help protect your rights, and pursue payment for the work you performed.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Tampa business litigation attorneys at Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. We would be happy to speak with you.