Collecting payment for construction services on real property in Florida can come with its challenges, but it also comes with its protections. One such protection for general contractors, subcontractors and other stakeholders involved in construction is the mechanic’s lien, or construction lien.
Filing a mechanic’s lien is an effective way to ensure you get paid for your work as a licensed GC in Florida. Read on to learn more about what a mechanic’s lien is, when to use it, and how long it lasts per Florida construction law.
Mechanic’s Lien 101
In Miami, Fla. Stat. § 713.001 et. seq. governs construction liens. The purpose of the law is to help construction professionals recover any owed compensation from homeowners or real property owners. If your client doesn’t pay their invoice, pursuing a construction lien provides recourse.
What Happens When You File a Construction Lien?
When a contractor files a mechanic’s liens, a lien is placed on the property’s title. This goes on public record, and it’s not a good look for property owners. Appearances aside, it also means the property owner could face foreclosure if they don’t pay up.
Once a construction lien is placed on a property, the lien holder has the opportunity to force the sale of the property through foreclosure, and in doing so can recover the unpaid contract payment via the proceeds of the sale.
How Long Do You Have to File a Mechanic’s Lien in Florida?
There are some restrictions related to when you can file a mechanic’s lien in Miami. Be sure to talk with a local construction attorney to discuss your situation and assess if there are alternatives to securing payment for an overdue invoice.
A licensed Florida contractor can file a lien before, during, or for a limited time after work on a construction project begins so long as it is filed lawfully and in accordance with statutory requirements for perfecting the lien.
In terms of the law, the latest a contractor can file a mechanic’s lien is 90 days from either: (1) the last date the claimant furnished labor or materials to the project; or (2) the termination of the original (prime) contract.
How Long is a Construction Lien Valid?
Generally, a mechanic’s lien in Florida is valid for one year after it was recorded. That said, the time limit may be extended or shortened depending on the circumstances. This would require filing an amended lien claim or commencing an action in court.
If you have questions about mechanic’s liens in Florida or need help drafting strong and effective construction contracts to protect your business interests, get in touch with us at Quintana Law, PA.