Establishing, Enforcing and Valuing Construction Liens
A “Notice to Owner” places a “lienor” in “statutory privity” with the owner. It also places the owner on notice and affords them protection against paying twice for the same improvement.
A “Claim of Lien” establishes priority and gives the owner notice of the existence of the lienor’s claim. It is also a prerequisite to the perfection and enforcement of the construction lien.
Generally, a lienor may recover for all materials incorporated into the improvement and all labor and services furnished toward the improvement of the real property.
If an owner makes proper payments pursuant to the Florida Construction Lien Law, the owner has a complete defense to a lien action. Under the lien law, the owner is provided with a method of making payments directly to lienors. However, this is contingent upon the owner having given the contractor written notice ten days in advance of their intent to make direct payment. When this procedure is utilized, the owner obtains waivers and releases from all lienors that are paid directly. Such payment should be made by joint check to the contractor and lienor.
In order to facilitate the owner in determining amounts due lienors, the owner may:
- Demand a sworn statement of the lienor's account under §713.16, Fla. Stat.; and
- Demand a copy of the lienor's contract and a statement of his account under §713.16, Fla. Stat.
All information provided in response will be binding on the lienor, and to the extent the owner is damaged, will give a cause of action to the owner against such lienor.