Construction Liens: Breaking it Down, Part 1

Construction Liens: Breaking it Down, Part 1

The construction industry involves many roles, from contractors and architects, to subcontractors and material suppliers.  The applicable laws add another legal layer to the intricate workings of the construction process.  The following blog, authored by Clark Partington construction attorney, Cameron Townes, breaks down the complexities of Florida Construction Lien Law.  This blog is part of a continuing series from Cameron Townes and the Clark Partington’s construction law team.

What is a lien?

A lien is similar to a mortgage (a mortgage is also a type of lien). It is a particular interest in real property, but a lien can also attach to an “ownership” interest, leaseholds, and other contractual rights.  A lien is enforced by a foreclosure. Florida has judicial foreclosure—foreclosures are only within the context of a lawsuit.

What is the Construction Lien Law?

Florida’s Construction Lien Law is found in §§ 713.001-713.37, Fla. Stat. and was formerly known as the “Mechanics’ Lien Law.”   Every state has its own version of the Lien Law, but the specific rules and deadlines vary from state to state.  In Florida, the Lien Law requires strict compliance with various specific deadlines provided in the statutes.  Failure to comply with these deadlines may result in complete loss of lien rights for the party asserting the lien (the “lienor”), or the potential loss of a defense or defenses to Owners.  Also note that a party against whom a lien is asserted may use certain procedural tools under the Lien Law to shorten a lienor’s time to file suit to enforce claim of lien.

Why does Florida have the Lien Law?

The purpose of the Lien Law is to provide orderly structure to help those who provide labor, services, or materials to Florida construction projects get paid, which both encourages and stabilizes important aspects of the development and construction industries. Essentially, the Lien Law levels the playing field between Owner, Contractor, and Subcontractors and avoids a “first in time” priority fight and “race to the courthouse” mentality. It provides lien rights to certain parties, balanced with protections and defenses available to Owners.

 

Clark Partington’s Construction Law Group is equipped to answer questions related to your specific situation. With offices in Pensacola, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Tallahassee, and Orange Beach (Alabama), we are a full-service firm covering this part of the Gulf Coast.  To reach one of Clark Partington’s Construction attorneys, contact Cameron Townes at (850) 208-7031 or ctownes@clarkpartington.com; or, Bruce Partington at (850) 436-6466 or bpartington@clarkpartington.com.

 

This publication should not be construed as legal advice.  Its applicability is dependent upon specific facts and circumstances and is provided for informational purposes only.  You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a lawyer licensed in your own state.