Contractors and Florida Construction Liens

Posted on: November 18, 2013

Anyone who works on your property or provides materials, and is not fully compensated, may have a right to enforce a claim for payment against your property. Construction liens are foreclosed in the same method as mortgages; however, there are differences. Construction liens must be based on actual improvements made to the property, the lien must be filed within ninety days of last furnishing services or materials to the property, and the suit to foreclose must be foreclosed within one year of the date of filing of the lien. Also, a final contractor’s affidavit must be filed at least five days prior to filing a complaint.

Florida Statute §489.128 provides that a contractor must be licensed in order to enforce a contract; however, licensing is not required for all items that may be considered construction. If a state license is not required for the scope of the work to be performed under the contract, the individual performing that work is not considered unlicensed. Interestingly, if a contractor is paid in full, a subcontractor or material supplier may look to your property for payment if the contractor fails to pay them.

Before making a payment to a contractor, be sure to receive a release of lien from suppliers and subcontractors. A release of lien removes your property from the threat of liens. Moreover, before making the final payment, obtain an affidavit from your contractor that specifies all unpaid parties. Our luxury real estate attorneys can assist with your construction agreements. A stipulation may be included to require your contractor to provide releases of lien. Construction lien laws are complex and special attention must be paid to statutory deadlines and requirements, but our Fort Lauderdale real estate law firm has the knowledge and experience to handle these complicated matters.