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I’m a customer getting ready to sign off on a contract for a pool remodel in Florida (picture perfect pools).

2 weeks ago

How do I avoid a problem down the road with one of the subcontractors submitting a lien against me the homeowner?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset
52 reviews

Florida property owners have many different potential mechanisms to protect against potential mechanics liens from sub-tier claimants. While protection starts with compliance with all potential requirements, like filing a notice of commencement, potentially the most powerful way to protect against lien claims is to obtain lien waivers from the sub-tier participants prior to or commensurate with making payment to be distributed down-the-chain.

Florida requires all project participants who do not contract directly with the property owner to provide a preliminary notice within the earlier of several dates, and the failure to do so negates any potential lien rights. There are a couple offshoots of this requirement that a property owner in Florida can use to gain some protection from sub-tier lien claims.

First, the receipt of notice provides a list of subcontractors from whom the property owner should make sure waivers are obtained. Note that, in addition to getting notice from potential sub-tier lien claimants, a property owner is also specifically allowed to request a list of all subs and suppliers directly from the GC on the project.

Second, the notice required from sub-tier participants to retain lien rights must be provided prior to final payment to the project’s prime contractor. If a property owner is only worried about the possibility of liens from sub-tier participants, that risk may potentially be avoided by making early payment to the GC – although that can open up many other potential issues.

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