The simple answer to this question is no, you can’t file a lien on a public project in Florida. This is because all public property is actually exempt from having liens filed against them. This is because the property is supposed to be “owned” by the Florida government on behalf of all the citizens of the state. It wouldn’t be fair to the citizens if that property were taken because the government agency responsible for it failed to pay their bills.

Of course, it is also unfair if a contractor’s company does work for the state of Florida but never gets paid. This is why most public projects will require that a payment bond be put in place before the project begins. This will serve to ensure the contractor is able to get paid, and the state property is protected. For projects with the state, these bonds are governed primarily by Florida Statutes Section 717.23.

What is a Payment Bond?
A payment bond is similar to a type of insurance that will pay out when a contractor files a claim (assuming it is a valid claim). If the Florida agency that hired the contractor is unable to pay for some reason, the bond will pay the money. While this isn’t a very common situation to face, it can and does happen at times, which is why contractors should never agree to a project with the state without having one in place.

Federal Government Projects
If the job is on federal land within the state of Florida, the same type of rules and regulations will apply. The Federal Miller Act is the set of laws that will govern a federal project like this, but in basic terms it will require you to have a payment bond in place and that the bond would pay out when a valid claim is filed. These types of laws and regulations can make projects with either state or federal governments more confusing than a standard agreement, which is why it is important to have an attorney working with you every step of the way.

Contact Us Today
Whether you have already started a job, or you are still negotiating with a state or federal agency, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney before moving forward. Contact Florida Construction Law Group to discuss your situation and ensure you will get paid for a job well done.