Florida Lien Waivers Guide and FAQs

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Florida Lien Waiver FAQs

Florida Lien Waiver Overview

Florida Lien Waiver Rules


  • Rules At A Glance
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lien waivers regulated
Specific Forms Are Required

Florida provides statutory lien waiver forms. While parties can agree to use an alternate form, no party can be forced to use a form that differs from the statutory form.


lien waivers do not need to be notarized
Notarization Not Required

Florida statutory lien waivers are not required to be notarized, and gain no practical benefit from notarization.


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Cannot Waive Rights in Contract

Florida specifically prohibits waiving lien rights in a contract prior to furnishing labor and/or materials, to the project.


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Can Waive Rights Before Payment

While lien rights may not be waived prior to furnishing waivers ARE allowed prior to payment provided the labor or materials were already furnished.

Florida lien waivers (commonly called lien releases in Florida) are regulated, and this is great news for contractors, suppliers, lenders, property developers, and anyone else on a Florida construction project. Florida is just one of 12 states that provide statutory lien waiver forms and have specific lien waiver laws. While this may seem like an aggravation on first blush, the truth is that not having lien waiver rules is the real headache. 

Lien waivers are pretty complex documents. But they are also unassuming because of how frequently they get exchanged on construction jobs across the country, and in Florida. A lien waiver is basically a receipt that payment has been made for work or materials on a job. These documents are exchanged at the time of payment, and commonly attached to subcontractor pay applications or vendor invoices.

There are different types of lien releases for different types of situations. And these documents have significant consequences for everyone on a job — as it connects directly to everyone’s right to cash!  Also, one pesky aspect of lien waivers is that the process of sending, requesting, tracking, and collecting lien waivers is an administrative pain that slows down the payment process. 

Knowing everything you can about lien waivers will allow you to make your process faster. And if your process is faster, your cash will move faster. And that will be good for everyone.

Florida’s approach to lien waivers is pretty unique, and because there are some tricky things about whether certain things are or are not required, it can lead to some confusion.

As mentioned above, Florida provides a Lien Waiver Template Form within its laws.  And it suggests that this particular template should be used by everyone in Florida.

Except for two details.

First, the forms provided in the statutes are “unconditional” waivers, with the instructions that they may be altered by adding conditional language.

Second, the law suggests that these are recommended forms, and not required forms. They are offered as a safe, mistake-free option for parties to use. However, if the parties agree beforehand to use an alternative lien waiver form, it will still likely be valid and enforced according to its terms (although there are some sticky legal questions with this).

This allows parties to be able to agree to their own terms concerning lien waivers. The only exception to this is that contractors and suppliers cannot be required to use a non-statutory form. There must be mutual consent to use the alternate form. If using an alternate form, be wary of the inclusion of language that waives more contract and mechanics lien rights than originally anticipated. And be wary about the extent of the other party’s “consent.” 

Here are guides on how to fill out the two Florida statutory lien waivers:

Whether using the statutory forms or an alternate lien waiver form, mistakes can still be made. This is why it’s so important to understand Florida’s lien waiver requirements. This page contains lots of information, faqs, guides, forms, and more, to help you become a master of the complex Florida lien waiver requirements.

Florida Lien Waivers FAQs

Florida's lien waiver requirements and rules can be difficult to understand, especially since some of the rules are more like suggestions. This can create some murky situations. We have some of the most common questions about Florida's lien waiver rules below.

Common Questions & Answers about Florida's Lien Waiver Rules

Do I need to use a specific lien waiver form in Florida?

Sort of…Maybe?

Florida does provide statutory lien waiver forms. So, within Florida’s legal rules, there are actual form templates provided for lien waivers.  And, the laws state that a form “may” be used that is “substantially similar” to the provided templates.  And the law says that a person cannot require any contractor to sign anything other than the provided template. Here is that specific language:

Florida Code § 713.20(6) says, “A person may not require a [contractor] to furnish a lien waiver or release…different from the forms” provided.  

However, the statutes also provide an exit from the required template if the parties agree to something else.

So, parties can agree to use an alternative form, but cannot be forced to.  And therefore, if you dabble in a different form, there is a question of whether the other form is “forced” or if it’s “agreed to.”  That’s a sticky argument that parties will want to avoid.

This whole question is more tricky than it may appear at first glance. We talked about it in more detail when discussing one of the biggest Florida lien waiver mistakes: Getting Mixed Up About Which Form To Use.  Read more in Common Florida Lien Waiver Mistakes & How To Avoid Them.

Can I be required to use a non-statutory lien waiver form?

No!

Under Florida statute, a person may not require a lien waiver that is different from the statutory forms provided. For an alternate form to be valid, both parties must agree to the alternate lien waiver form ahead of time.

There is a practical difficulty with this. If someone is waiting on payment and the owner, lender, or general contractor refuses to make a payment without signing a specific lien waiver form, there will be a lot of practical pressure to just sign. However, if the contractor or supplier stands firm, they will have a really terrific position, because this is explicitly made illegal by the Florida rules.

Are Florida statutory lien waivers conditional or unconditional?

The statutory forms are written as unconditional lien waivers. Florida statutes state that anyone who executes a lien waiver in exchange for a check may condition the waiver on payment of the check.

Therefore, a statutory form can be converted into a conditional lien waiver simply by adding conditional language to the waiver form.

When do Florida lien waivers become binding?

It depends. For statutory forms, conditional lien waivers will become binding once payment has been made. On the other hand, unconditional waivers are binding once signed.

As far as lien waivers in a non-statutory form, they will be enforceable in accordance with the terms of the lien waiver.

Can a contractor or supplier waive their lien rights in their contract?

No, Florida statute specifically prohibits contract provisions that waive lien rights before work is performed. At Levelset, we like to call these “no-lien clauses.” 

Even though a contractor or supplier cannot waive their lien rights in a contract — regardless of what they sign — it’s really common for contracts to include language suggesting exactly this. And it’s common for people to not know any better.

In fact, there was recently a crazy situation in Orlando, Florida, related to this.

A contractor in Orlando wasn’t being paid and got really, really frustrated.  Instead of filing a Florida mechanics lien, the contractor “sabotaged the project” by crippling the project’s elevators!  The contractor got in big trouble for this, and was splashed all over the media. The contractor claimed he needed to sabotage the project because “under the contract signed with the owner, he was not allowed to file a lien.

If such a contractual provision existed, though, it would have been invalid!

If only the contractor read this page first…

Can a contractor or supplier waive their lien rights after work begins, but before payment is made?

Florida specifically prohibits waivers before work begins (see the previous question & answer), but after work begins, the parties can sign lien waiver documents that waive lien rights prior to payment actually being made.

This means that if a contractor or supplier signs an “unconditional lien waiver” before they have cash in the bank…they could get stuck without lien rights if payment isn’t eventually made.

Do Florida lien waivers have to be notarized?

No. Florida statute does not require statutory lien waivers be notarized. However, if using an alternate lien waiver form, and the terms state that the document needs to be notarized, then it will be required. Alternate lien waiver forms are enforced according to their terms.

Do Florida lien waivers waive all of my rights?

That depends. The statutory progress payment waivers include a section that states, “this waiver does not cover and retention or labor, services, or materials furnished after the date specified.” So, future lien rights can be reserved when submitting progress payment waivers.

The final payment form provided doesn’t contain language reserving any lien rights. As far as best practices are concerned, it’s generally a good idea to add an exceptions section if there is pending retention or unapproved change order payments.

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Recent Questions & Answers
About Florida Lien Waivers

After payment is made to the GC for the work of a Sub-Contractor how many days does the GC have to deliver the lien waiver to the client?

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Free Florida Lien Waivers Forms & Templates

Florida has specific lien waiver forms that can be used by everyone on an Florida construction project. Using these forms is safe, easy, stress-free, and fair for everyone involved. Under some circumstances, parties can agree to use other lien waiver forms in Florida.

The forms provided here for free by Levelset are compliant with the Florida rules. You can download them free, or use our free system to send or request your compliant Florida lien waiver form.

Free Florida Lien Waiver Forms

These Florida lien waiver forms are compliant with the state's requirements. Make it easy, and use forms from the source you can trust.

Florida Partial Conditional Lien Waiver Form - free from

Florida Partial Conditional Lien Waiver Form

The fl partial conditional waiver (also called a partial conditional lien release) should be used when a progress payment on the project is expected. There...

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Florida Final Unconditional Bond Waiver Form - free from

Florida Final Unconditional Bond Waiver Form

The fl final unconditional waiver (also called a final unconditional lien release) should be used when the final payment for a project has been made...

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Florida Partial Unconditional Bond Waiver Form - free from

Florida Partial Unconditional Bond Waiver Form

This fl partial unconditional waiver (also called a partial unconditional lien release) should be used when a progress payment on the project has been received....

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Florida Final Conditional Lien Waiver Form - free from

Florida Final Conditional Lien Waiver Form

This fl final conditional waiver (also called a final conditional lien release but not to be confused with a lien cancellation) should be used when...

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