How to proceed with a notice to owner where circumstances are new to me.

11 months ago

We have a general contractor customer who has awarded us a contract for work on his personal residence. Our contract is with the GC relationship and the GC occupies the residence located in Naples, Florida. The property is recorded as a revocable trust. Our Levelset project is NPL19-0046 (Varian Residence) and I have attached the permit listing the legal ownership and a property appraiser document. Am I correct in assuming that our relationship with the homeowner is sub-contractor and that a notice to owner is in order? Our work has not yet begun and we have not delivered any materials.

Chief Legal Officer Levelset
100 reviews

Florida requirements can be tricky – especially when parties are (or seem to be) filling multiple roles. While in some states there are very clear definitions regarding owner/contractors and how that applies to notice requirements, in Florida it takes a bit of digging.

One lucky aspect here is that Florida requires the filing of a notice of commencement, they key function of which is to provide third-parties with the information needed to properly complete the required notices and other documents pursuant to Florida’s lien laws. And, and all parties providing notice are specifically allowed to rely on public information contained in the notice of commencement (or, if one was not filed, in the building permit) when sending their notice.

Accordingly, the information on the notice of commencement can be relied on to control the definition of the roles of project participants. Here, it appears that that, as you mention, the notice of commencement lists the property owner as the trust, and the GC is the individual with whom you contracted.

Since the contract is with the GC, the most cautious route would be to identify as a subcontractor, comply with subcontractor notice requirements, and send a notice to owner.

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