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Liens filed against new construction

When construction of a new home, condominium, business structure or remodeling takes place, there is usually more than one construction crew involved. There may be architects, builders, painters, roofers, electricians, plumbers and many other contractors on the payroll.

In addition to the workers, there are suppliers who may deliver materials or provide other services. There may be one building contractor who handles the hiring of all crews and ordering materials, or it can be a number of different contractors with their own specialties.

What happens if everyone is not paid when the job is completed?

In the end, every contractor and subcontractor should be paid in full, or the property owner may end up with a lien filed against the property.

What happens if the property owner pays the contractor, and the contractor does not pay the subcontractors?

If the property owner does not have a Release of Lien signed by each of their suppliers, contractors and subcontractors, whoever does not get paid can file a construction lien against the property, even though the original contractor has been paid.

What does a construction lien mean?

A construction lien means that the property could potentially be sold to pay for services and materials provided by a contractor or subcontractor. At the least, as long as a lien is on the property, it cannot be sold.

Who all can claim a lien for nonpayment?

Contractors, laborers, suppliers of materials, subcontractors, architects, landscapers, designers, engineers and land surveyors have a right to file a lien for nonpayment.

Construction subcontractors and others who are not in direct contract with the owners must serve the owner with a "Notice to Owner" no later than 45 days from when they began work. In the event they do not properly serve the notice, the lien will be unenforceable.

A construction litigation attorney can file all necessary documents for contractors, subcontractors or other construction industry professionals in the event of nonpayment. If issues arise, he or she will have the experience and legal knowledge to litigate on their client's behalf.

Source: Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, "Florida's Construction Lien Law," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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