When preparing for a large construction project, you want to make sure that the lien is properly in place. In many situations, the lien is the most effective way to make sure you get paid in full for the work that you perform. Understanding all aspects of the lien, and how it is enforced, is critical for avoiding any problems. One often ignored or misunderstood item is known as “first furnishings.” This is a concept that is used when determining whether a lien is enforceable or not. Learn more about first furnishings in this blog post now:
What is First Furnishings?
First furnishings is important when determining whether a lien is enforceable in certain situations. Specifically, a lienor must serve their Notice to Owner at some point prior to 45 days after the first work is done, or the first delivery of materials at the property has arrived. The point where the material arrives, or the work begins, is known as first furnishings. The courts in Florida have been known to be quite strict on this requirement. If you don’t file that Notice to Owner within that 45-day window, it will be far more difficult to maintain the lien rights.
What Counts as First Furnishings?
In general, first furnishings is said to be when work begins or when materials arrive, as mentioned above. The fact is, however, that the courts can define this in very strict ways. For example, there have been cases where the courts ruled that the first furnishings timeline started when the first component of a crane arrived at the site, even though the crane wasn’t assembled or able to actually do any work for some time. With this in mind, it is absolutely essential to get that Notice to Owner served as quickly as possible so you don’t risk going over the 45-day limitation.
Who Needs to File the Notice to Owner?
This applies primarily to lienors who don’t have direct contact with the owner, such as sub-contractors, suppliers, and others. The primary contractor in a job, who works directly with the owner, typically won’t need to serve a Notice to Owner, so the first furnishings rule won’t really apply.
Never Assume a Thing
Florida’s construction industry has been booming for several years now, which has resulted in a lot of legal cases being filed. The courts aren’t going to want to spend a lot of time on each case if it can be avoided, which is why you need to make sure everything is in proper order so they can rule in your favor right away. Having an experienced construction attorney at your side will help ensure your Notice to Owner is created correctly, served, and done within the 45-day window. Contact us to go over your situation and see how we can help.