While performing construction work in Florida, those who do not contract directly with the property owner are required to provide preliminary notice to protect their right to file a lien. The deadline to send the Florida Notice to Owner is dependent on your role in the construction project.
While the preliminary notice in Florida is titled the Notice to Owner, it may be required to be delivered to more parties than just the property owner, depending on your role and tier in the project.
Those who contracted directly with the property owner (this includes material suppliers who contracted directly with the owner), are not required to send the Notice to Owner preliminary notice, rather they have to provide the property owner with a list of all their intended subcontractors and material suppliers within 10 days of the request from the owner.
First tier subcontractors are required to send the Notice to Owner to the property owner and the general contractor who hired them.
Sub-subcontractors are required to send the Notice to owner to the property owner, the general contractor, and the subcontractor who hired them.
A general rule of thumb is to send the notice to all the parties up the hiring chain from you.
The Owner Designee
There may be another party aside from those up the hiring chain that may be required to receive the Notice to Owner in Florida. This party is the owner designee, or in other words, a person (or persons) that the property owner designates as a party to receive the preliminary notice in addition to themselves. Since the owner designee may be required to receive the notice, the owner is responsible for making that party known. The way the owner makes the Owner Designee known to the other parties on the construction project is by listing the designee on a Notice of Commencement.
Notice of Commencement
According to Florida Statute §713.13, the property owner must file a Notice of Commencement with the Clerk of the Court (County Recorders Division) prior to commencement of construction if the contract is for greater than $2,500.00. The Notice of Commencement lists detailed information about the project, such as the property address, parcel number, property owner, construction lender (if applicable), and if there is anyone designated to receive the Notice to Owner other than the property owner themselves (the owner designee).
Finding the Notice of Commencement and the Owner Designee
The Miami-Dade County Recorder Document Search to Find the Notice of Commencement and Owner Designee
The Notice of Commencement gets filed with the Clerk of Court (County Records Division) of the county in which the project took place. If you go into the Clerk of Court office, they should be able to pull the document for you. If you cannot make it into the office, many – if not all – counties in Florida provide the ability to search for recorded documents (like a Notice of Commencement) online.
The easiest way to find the portal to the county’s online records search is to simply search “county of (county name) recorder search.” This works for many counties, including Miami-Dade, Orange County, and Broward County. Once you find the appropriate search page, it will ask you for information to find the document you are looking for, such as the filing party’s name, the date range, and the type of document. You should be able to view, download, or purchase a copy of the document when you find it.