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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I have a dumpster company that filed a lien on my florida property over a disputed bill that he never would provide documentation of what I owed. How do I dispute the lien?

I have a dumpster company that filed a lien on my florida property over a disputed bill that he never would provide documentation of what I owed. How do I dispute the lien?

FloridaBonding Off LienMechanics Lien

He said my dumpster was overweight but it had less in it than the previous dumpster that was not overweight. I asked for landfill weight tickets to prove it was overweight. He refused to provide so I refused to pay the overage. He filed a lien on my property and also jacked up the amount of the lien.

1 reply

Jul 24, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about that. Still, it's a good question, and there are a number of ways to combat a Florida mechanics lien. And, as hinted at in your question above, exaggerated mechanics liens can often be successfully challenged.

Penalty for exaggerated lien in Florida
Before getting too far along, it's worth noting that Florida has a particularly harsh penalty for those who exaggerate the amount on a mechanics lien. In fact, it could result in a 3rd-degree felony if the mechanics lien has been willfully exaggerated. Of course, there's a difference between willful exaggeration and an honest mistake. So, if the amount on a mechanics lien appears to have been purposefully inflated, threatening to pursue legal claims against the lien claimant if they don't remove their lien could help to potentially get a lien released without needing to actually pursue legal action. Certainly, a demand from an attorney could help provide a little extra "umph".

Shortening the lien period by filing a Notice of Contest of Lien
In Florida, an owner can contest a filed lien while also shortening the timeframe for enforcing the filed lien. By filing a Notice of Contest with the county where the lien is filed (much in the same manner as the original lien was filed), an owner can identify their issues with the lien claim while shortening the claimants window to file suit on the lien from 1 year to a mere 60 days. While a lien claimant can still try their luck and enforce their lien, if there are obvious issues with the filing, they might not pursue the claim. Then, 60 days after filing the Notice of Contest, the threat of a lien enforcement action goes away.

Shortening the lien enforcement period via summons and complaint to show cause
By filing then serving a summons and complaint to show cause why the mechanics lien is improper, shouldn't be enforced via lawsuit, and/or should be vacated, an owner can actually shorten the timeframe to file a lien even further - to a mere 20 days. Of course, unlike filing a Notice of Contest, this requires legal action and likely the attention of a lawyer. But still - this is a very helpful tool and can quickly get a mechanics lien tossed aside.

Bonding off a filed lien
Florida is also a state where a mechanics lien can be bonded off. In Florida, if an owner secures and files a surety bond pursuant to § 713.24 of the Florida mechanics lien statutes, the mechanics lien will be removed from the property and instead transferred to the bond. The claim will still exist, and it would still be enforceable by the lien claimant (to the extent that the claim was even enforceable to begin with), but at least this way the property title would no longer be on the line. Granted, bonding off a lien can be expensive, and it doesn't always make the most since if other options are available to challenge a lien. Still - if the lien needs to be off the property title fast, bonding off a filed lien might be the quickest way to do it.

I hope this information was helpful. When a mechanics lien has been filed but that lien needs to be discharged, there are a number of different routes an owner can take to go about that process. But, in order to best understand each option and why it may or may not be a good option for your circumstances, it'd probably be a good idea to consult a local construction attorney. They'll be able to take a deeper look at your situation, as well as any relevant documentation, and decide how best to proceed.
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