Guide to Mechanics Liens in Florida

If contractors and suppliers don’t get paid on a construction project in Florida, they can file a lien to secure payment. A mechanics lien is a legal tool that provides the unpaid party with a security interest in the property. This page breaks down the rules, requirements, and deadlines you need to follow to file a Florida mechanics lien.

Eligible Parties for Filing a Florida Mechanics Lien

Florida allows direct contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment lessors, laborers, architects, engineers, surveyors, and design professionals to file mechanics liens for work contributing to the permanent benefit of land or real property. Material suppliers are protected, but this is limited to supplies to second-tier subcontractors and above.

Written Contracts and Mechanics Liens in Florida

A written contract is not mandatory for filing a mechanics lien in Florida, although having one is highly recommended for each construction project.

Licensing Requirements for Filing a Florida Mechanics Lien

Unlicensed contractors cannot file a mechanics lien in Florida if the work requires a license. Unlicensed work may lead to legal repercussions including fines and criminal penalties.

Deadline for Filing a Florida Mechanics Lien

A Florida mechanics lien must be filed within 90 days from either the last date of providing labor/materials or the termination of the prime contract.

Required Information for a Florida Mechanics Lien

A Florida Claim of Lien must include the claimant’s and hiring party’s details, services or materials description, contract price, property description, owner’s name, dates of labor/material provision, amount claimed, and preliminary notice details.

Legal Property Description in Florida Mechanics Liens

While a legal property description is not mandatory for a valid mechanics lien in Florida, including it ensures compliance with the identification sufficiency requirement.

Inclusion of Additional Costs in Florida Mechanics Liens

A Florida mechanics lien should only include amounts directly contributing to property improvement. Attorney’s fees are not included but may be awarded in foreclosure actions.

Notarization of Florida Mechanics Liens

Florida law mandates that mechanics liens be notarized to be considered valid.

Recording a Florida Mechanics Lien

File and record a mechanics lien in the county where the project is located, adhering to specific county rules and requirements.

Serving Notice of Recorded Mechanics Liens in Florida

Once a mechanics lien is recorded in Florida, a copy must be served to the property owner within 15 days of filing.

Enforcement Deadline for Florida Mechanics Liens

A Florida mechanics lien must generally be enforced within one year from recording, subject to conditions for extension or shortening.

Florida Liens and Prior Payments to General Contractors

In Florida, a subcontractor or supplier’s lien claim is limited to the amount still owed to the GC at the time of filing the lien.

Priority of Florida Mechanics Liens Over Other Encumbrances

Florida mechanics liens have priority over later encumbrances but not over earlier ones. Liens are prioritized by laborers, other claimants, and then general contractors.

Canceling a Florida Mechanics Lien

A lien release is required if the obligation is paid or the enforcement period passes.

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