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Filed a Lien without sending an NTO. What are my options to get paid?

FloridaMechanics LienPreliminary NoticeRecovery Options

I filed a lien without sending an NTO in Florida. We did send a Notice of Intent to the GC and the property owner and the tenant. I want to know what action I can take against the GC. I was reading the Florida Contractors Manual (2017 edition) and it said I can maybe take it up to the Dept of Business & Professional Regulations and hit the GCs license? What are my options to get paid?

1 reply

Jul 26, 2018
That's an interesting, but not all that uncommon, situation. First, it'd be important to know whether the GC, property owner, or tenant had challenged the lien based on the lack of the NTO - or if they're even aware that the lack of the NTO might render this lien unenforceable. If the lien hasn't been challenged, and if the parties involved are not aware that the lien filing may be invalid or unenforceable, a claimant will often find success by putting some pressure on the GC and owner by making a demand for payment, stating that if the claim isn't paid, the lien claim will be enforced. Much like the Notice of Intent to Lien you sent, a Notice of Intent to Foreclose can go a long way here. This document isn't required, but considering the potential implications of a mechanics lien enforcement action, it often goes a long way toward securing payment - without having to enforce a lien. If the lien remedy does not appear to be a fruitful option for recovery in this instance, there are still other methods available for recovery. Depending on the amount of a given claim for payment, going to small claims court might be an option. But small claims court is only available for claims under $5,000. Small claims court can be a little unpredictable, but it's inexpensive and can really streamline the recovery process compared to full blown litigation. If the claim is too large for small claims court, filing a lawsuit for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or some other remedy may also be an option. Litigation can be effective, but it can also be costly and time consuming. Of course, because no one want to enter into a court battle, the mere threat of litigation (sort of like a Notice of Intent to Lien or Notice of Intent to Foreclose) can be effective as well. Regarding the contractor's license - a complaint may always be made with Florida's contractor's board, and a complaint can be made here. As with all other actions, the mere threat of making a claim with the contractor's board, when made to a nonpaying contractor, could also be effective to compel payment. Plus, if payment isn't made, at least the contractor will have to deal with the licensing board about the claim.
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