Claim of Lien is asking for date NTO was served on Contractor but it was unclaimed

7 days ago

If the Notice to Owner was unclaimed and returned by my Contractor, what date would I use for date of serving NTO to my customer, the contractor on my Claim of Lien? The owner received the NTO timely.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

Notice may still be effective even if it wasn’t actually signed for by a contractor. And, in various situations, service is considered effective upon mailing. So, if service is effective upon mailing, then a contractor’s non-receipt of the notice could be irrelevant when determining the service date.

Florida’s Notice to Owner service rules

Under § 713.18(2) of the Florida mechanics lien statutes, as long as notice is sent as required (typically, via registered or certified mail – though Global Express Guaranteed would also be sufficient), and as long as notice was sent within the first 40 days of performing work, notice is effective upon mailing.

Further, under § 713.18(3)(a), service that’s returned or undeliverable is also effective upon mailing if it’s sent to the address shown in the Notice of Commencement (or, if there’s no Notice of Commencement, to the address in the building permit application, or to the last known address of the person to be served). And, note that if the address in the Notice of Commencement or in the building permit application is incomplete, then the address can be found via other public records.

Bottom line

In a situation where notice has been mailed, as required, the date that mailing took place will quite often be the date when service was made. And, if the service is effective upon mailing, then the service date included in the lien claim would also be the mailing date.

For more background on Florida’s preliminary notice and mechanics lien requirements, here are some great resources from Levelset:
(1) Florida NTO Guide & FAQs
(2) Florida Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs

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