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Can an owner unilaterally set a completion date?

FloridaConstruction Contract

I recently had an extensive restoration renovation project. With many changes and additional tasks added throughout the job, there was never a "set completion date". At nearing completion My company was given a 2-day completion date of Jan 1st. We had the CO from the building department 2 weeks prior but the owner was out of town and not readily available to answer questions pertaining to completing some of the work. So the job lagged for 2 weeks the owner got upset and denied us access back to the property and refuses to pay his bill. IMO there was only a day of work left. He's paid maybe 85% of the contracted price.

1 reply

Feb 4, 2019
That's an interesting question. Unless it was provided for under the contract for work, an owner should not be entitled to unilaterally imposing a mandatory completion time on the project - especially one with such short notice. While it serves a different purpose, it's worth noting that an owner could certainly file a Notice of Termination which would terminate the Notice of Commencement for the project, and would signal the end of the project. But again - that won't affect the obligations under a given contract, rather, it acts as a signal to the public that the project under the previously filed Notice of Commencement has come to an end. As far as recovering payment - note that there a number of potential options that could help to recover unpaid sums resulting from construction work performed and unpaid. For one, talking out the issue is very typically the best option for proceeding without additional cost or incident. If that doesn't seem to be an option, sending a warning that a mechanics lien will be filed unless payment is made could help to compel payment. zlien discusses that idea here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Further, if necessary, actually filing a Florida mechanics lien could certainly help force payment - and zlien discusses that option here: Florida Lien & Notice FAQs and How to File a Florida Mechanics Lien. There are, of course, other options for recovering payment (like via litigation), but typically, taking to the courts is a last resort.
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