General contractors and other qualifying parties who don’t get paid on a Florida construction project are entitled to file a mechanics or construction lien to obtain payment. Liens extend to builders, contractors, subcontractors, and materials suppliers and can also cover building repairs. A valid lien holder can file a lawsuit to foreclose a lien similar to the way a bank can, even against a homestead property.
Our construction law attorneys represent general contractors, tradespeople, design professionals, and project owners. Their thorough understanding of Florida construction law makes them well-equipped to help clients deal with lien claims and defenses and resolve issues before litigation becomes necessary. We assist in enforcing liens, filing liens, or navigating construction disputes—we’re here to guide you through the entire process.
Florida Construction Liens: What You Need to Know
Florida’s construction lien laws provide critical protection for contractors and suppliers. However, contractors or other parties looking to enforce their mechanics lien rights have many requirements to follow if the lien is to be successful.
Contractors file construction liens for various reasons, such as:
- Unpaid work, including labor, materials, and other services.
- Breach of contract.
- Disputes over work quality or scope.
- Unpaid change orders.
- Delayed payments.
- Protecting rights under state law.
- Financial instability or insolvency of a project owner.
Project owners defending against a mechanics lien have a variety of legal defenses at their disposal, including:
- Improper lien timing. Florida Statute 713 has strict deadlines for filing a construction lien. If filed too early or too late, it can be challenged and potentially invalidated.
- Defective lien notice. If required notices are not served correctly or contain errors, it could be a basis for challenging the lien.
- Incorrect lien amounts. Intentionally or unintentionally overstating the lien’s amount can lead to penalties and the lien’s dismissal.
- Lack of licensing. Contractors or subcontractors not licensed under Florida law could be barred from enforcing lien rights.
- Payment in full. If, as the owner, you can prove payment for work, materials, or other services was paid in full, this is a strong defense.
Other defenses are failing to follow the correct legal process for enforcing the lien, failure to adhere to contract terms, and bankruptcy of the party filing the lien.
How a Cobb Cole Construction Law Attorney Can Help
Construction lien laws in Florida can be complicated and confusing. We provide valuable guidance during mechanics lien disputes, protecting and defending your rights. Our team will explain the construction lien legal process in terms that are easy to understand and clarify everything you need to know about deadlines, mediation, arbitration, and court procedures.
Are you a contractor needing to file a lien? We handle all legal requirements and deadlines under Florida law and also:
- Draft or review liens to ensure they include all necessary details and are free from errors that could jeopardize their enforceability.
- Represent you in legal proceedings, including negotiations or litigation, to enforce the lien and secure payment for the services or materials provided.
Are you a project owner who’s been served with a construction lien claim? Our attorneys will:
- Evaluate its legitimacy.
- Strategize the best approach to addressing valid claims.
- Vigorously defend your rights.
In addition to construction lien claims and defenses, we handle services in various other areas, including contract negotiations, zoning matters, and brownfield development.