How does a construction lien work?
Chapter 713 of Florida Statutes authorizes a contractor, subcontractor, material provider, or laborer (collectively “Lienor”) to record a lien against property for labor, services, or materials for which money is owed. A lien is a piece of paper that gets recorded in county records and is valid for one year from the date it was recorded, with a few exceptions. (None of those exceptions extend the life of the lien, only shorten it). If the lien does not get paid by the end of the year, the Lienor must file a lawsuit to enforce the lien, or it becomes invalid after the year expires.
If the Lienor files a lawsuit and proves to the Court that it is owed the money, the Court issues a judgment for the amount owed. The judgment usually gives the property owner60-90 days to pay the judgment, and it includes a sale date. If the property owner does not pay the judgment within the timeframe, the property gets auctioned to the highest bidder. The judgment then gets paid from the proceeds of the sale of the property, the auction winner owns the property, and the former property owner is entitled to the surplus funds from the sale of the property, less the judgment amount and any other costs.
However, there are quite a number of issues that can invalidate a lien before a lawsuit ever becomes a possibility. Some common issues that we see with liens are:
Failure to list first and last day of work;
Failure to adequately describe the property;
Failure to timely send a Notice to Owner;
Liens are too old (over a year);
A Notice of Contest of Lien was recorded, and many more.
Quattrochi & Torres offers a flat fee lien preparation service to make the process easier and to get you paid quicker.
We also offer a flat fee Notice to Owner and Lien prep service.