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Legality of Lien Filed

Florida

I filed a lien on a property in FL. The owner did not order the work, the potential purchaser did. The potential purchaser walked away without buying the property and didn't pay our company for the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. I sent our the required notices to both the property owner and the potential purchaser and then filed a lien on the property which was granted. The owner's lawyer has since sent us a threatening notice that since the owner didn't order the work, (no Notice of Commencement by the owner), our Notice to the Owner in not legal and our Claim of Lien is invalid. That is not my interpretation of FL regs. What is your opinion.

2 replies

May 17, 2020
Is there a reason you aren't looking at the purchaser that hired you to perform the ESA? That would be a contract you may want to hire a lawyer to look at. As to liening for the ESA based on an agreement with a prospective purchaser, and without knowing more details including contract between purchaser and owner, seems like the fee simple owner does have an argument since owner didn't directly hire you and work didn't improve real property.
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May 18, 2020
Chapter 713 defines an owner as "a person who is the owner of any legal or equitable interest in real property, which interest can be sold by legal process." Your "owner" was the prospective purchaser who walked away from the contract. He or she does not own any "interest [which] can be sold by legal process" because they backed out of the contract. Because you have no contract with the actual owner of the property or someone hired by the owner of the property, your lien rights do not reach the owner's interest.
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