Florida Lien Waiver Rules
- Rules At A Glance
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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.
Notarization Not Required
Florida statutory lien waivers are not required to be notarized, and gain no practical benefit from notarization.
Cannot Waive Rights in Contract
Florida specifically prohibits waiving lien rights in a contract prior to furnishing labor and/or materials, to the project.
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.