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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I hired a laborman to do some repairs on my home. (Tile removal, wall move, wall replaced, floor extension). I paid him a deposit of $550 and the total job estimate was $2125.00 Halfway through the job he and I get into a verbal disagreement and he decides to just quote the job without completing any of the jobs he was hired to do. Now he has served a Notice to Owner to me and is demanding an additional $1,000 payment for the labor he did. Can he legally file a lien against my property even though he quite the job and none of the work was completed and what should be my next step to respond to this notice?

I hired a laborman to do some repairs on my home. (Tile removal, wall move, wall replaced, floor extension). I paid him a deposit of $550 and the total job estimate was $2125.00 Halfway through the job he and I get into a verbal disagreement and he decides to just quote the job without completing any of the jobs he was hired to do. Now he has served a Notice to Owner to me and is demanding an additional $1,000 payment for the labor he did. Can he legally file a lien against my property even though he quite the job and none of the work was completed and what should be my next step to respond to this notice?

FloridaMechanics LienPayment Disputes

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1 reply

Jul 16, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about your situation, and this is one we hear about pretty often. This article may be helpful: A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now? Anyway, it's first worth noting that regardless of whether the underlying lien would be valid, a mechanics lien filing might actually occur. Of course, if the owner challenges the filed lien, or if the claimant attempts to enforce the lien, a lien could be deemed invalid. Anyway, mechanics liens secure amounts that are owed and unpaid to those who provide labor, services, and/or materials to construction jobs. In Florida, lien rights are broadly available to a number of parties, including both prime contractors and laborers. But again - a mechanics lien should not exceed the amount due work actually performed. Of course, notifying a potential claimant of the penalties associated with fraudulent liens often goes a long way to make sure any filed claims are valid. When a lien is intentionally exaggerated, a Florida lien claimant can very quickly find themselves in hot water. Specifically, if a claimant has willfully exaggerated the value of their Florida lien claim or has filed a lien for work not performed, the owner against whose property the lien was filed will have the right to sue for damages. In such a suit, the claimant may be liable to the owner for damages, attorney, fees and expenses. Plus, under § 713.31(3) of Florida's lien statute, "Any person who willfully files a fraudulent lien, as defined in this section, commits a felony of the third degree..." So, while a claimant might be able to file a lien for work not performed or for an exaggerated amount, the penalties are stiff. If a lien claim is filed, a claimants best move may be to reach out to a local construction attorney for advice on how to proceed - they'll be able to asses the situation and the surrounding circumstances and provide clarity on how best to move forward in this specific instance.
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