When a construction material supplier’s has not been paid for the work done on a construction project, the material supplier may seek remedies through lien rights under Florida’s Construction Lien Law, Section 713.001-37, Florida Statues. The purpose of the Florida Construction Lien Law is to protect construction material suppliers from nonpayment, but strict compliance with the statutory law is required.
The first thing to understand is that a Notice to Owner is a prerequisite to perfecting a lien, unless you are in direct privity with the Owner. However, if you are furnishing materials under an order by someone other than the Owner such as a general contractor or subcontractor then a Notice to Owner must be served. Failure to properly and timely serve a Notice to Owner is an absolute bar to your lien.The second thing to understand is that a Notice to Owner is not a lien. The Owner can prevent paying twice for work by verifying pursuant to a lien waiver that money paid to the contractor ends up paid. The third thing you must understand is that the Notice to Owner must be served timely. The Notice to Owner must be served within 45 days of first delivering materials to the jobsite.
The fourth thing you must understand is that the Notice to Owner must be served properly. The Notice itself must be proper, and the service must be proper. For the Notice to Owner to be proper, it must be in substantially the form, and include the information and warning, set forth in Fla. Stat. §713.06(2)(c). To prepare the Notice, you should use the information contained in the recorded Notice of Commencement. If there is no recorded Notice of Commencement, then you should use the information contained in the building permit application. Make sure to properly describe the services or materials that you are supplying; make it broad enough to cover all materials that you may supply for the project.
As to proper service, you must make sure to send the Notice to all required recipients and use the proper method of delivery. The Notice must be sent to the Owner at the address stated on the Notice of Commencement. If you are aware of additional addresses for the Owner, send the Notice to those addresses as well. The proper method of delivery is set forth in Fla. Stat. §713.18. Always keep evidence of delivery of Notice whether through certified mail or photos of posting Notice to the jobsite.
Ray Garcia, Esq.
Board Certified in Real Estate Law
by the Florida Bar