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Can a lien be filed because of the following situation

FloridaRight to Lien

My friend, an elderly woman of 87, is attempting to evict a tenant for breach of an implied contract. She exchanged rent for labor to remodel 2 units. The contractor has not completed the work that was agreed upon at this time. It has been 10 months and she is now trying to evict. She was forced to hire someone to complete the work. She has been deprived of rent not only for the 2 units not completed by the contractor and the unit he occupies. He is threatening to place a lien on her property. Can he do this?

1 reply

May 13, 2019
That's an interesting situation. One thing that comes to mind here is the deadline for filing a Florida mechanics lien. In Florida, in order to have a valid and enforceable mechanics lien, that lien must be filed within 90 days of the last date when the lien claimant last performed work. So, in a situation where a lien claimant files their lien well beyond that timeframe, a subsequently filed lien claim would be invalid and unenforceable as a result. Further, mechanics lien claims will only be available to the extent that payment is owed but unpaid. So, a lien claimant may only file a lien in relation to amounts that remain outstanding - if more "payment" was received than what was owed, a filed mechanics lien would likely end up being invalid and unenforceable due to the lien being exaggerated. What's more, when liens are intentionally exaggerated in Florida, the lien claiamant might even run the risk of criminal liability. Even further - it's likely worth looking into whether the contractor threatening a lien is licensed. When a Florida lien claimant is unlicensed, and when their work requires licensure, the claimant is not able to file a valid and enforceable mechanics lien. With all of that being said, it may still be possible for a claimant to have their lien actually filed - even when there would be serious questions as to that lien's validity. County recorder's offices typically have neither the bandwidth nor the authority to investigate each lien claim made. So, even a lien with serious issues might be filed and put into the record - and a property owner might encounter headaches and expense in having the lien removed. For more information about how owners react to the potential liens, here are some helpful resources: (1) I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?; and (2) A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?
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