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Lien Rights After Emergency Response

FloridaRight to Lien

We performed emergency disaster cleanup for a property after Hurricane Michael, no demo permit was pulled or notice of commencement, due to the nature of the situation. Now the owners are unwilling to pay the balance now that the cleanup is complete, and obviously will not sign either of these documents. We did not perform and reconstruction, just cleanup and removal. We still have lien rights correct?

1 reply

Nov 26, 2018
That's a good question. First, regarding a demo permit and Notice of Commencement - it's important to note that, even in circumstances such as hurricane recovery, it's important to follow permitting and notice requirements. Often, these requirements are lifted (or at least relaxed) in the wake of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Michael, but if these requirements aren't eased, failure to follow them could spell trouble. In Florida, in order to have a valid mechanics lien right, the claimant must be licensed to perform the work they are doing (if that work requires licensure, that is). However, the Florida mechanics lien statute does not appear to specifically address whether failure to obtain a permit would result in the loss of lien rights. Further, nothing in the Florida lien statute appears to limit the availability of a lien when a Notice of Commencement is not filed on the project. Rather, § 713.135 of the Florida lien statute actually contemplates potential lien claims when a Notice of Commencement has not been filed. Finally, it's worth noting that prior to filing a mechanics lien, sending a threat of lien - such as a Notice of Intent to Lien - can be effective to compel payment without actually having to file a mechanics lien. A Notice of Intent to Lien informs a property owner that if payment isn't made and made soon, a mechanics lien will be filed on their property. Considering the drastic nature of the mechanics lien remedy, many owners will be willing to talk deal in order to avoid a mechanics lien filing. Plus, it's a cheap and relatively risk-free option compared to an actual lien filing. You can learn more about the document here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien - and Should I Send One? Further, you can learn more about Florida's lien and notice requirements here: Florida Lien and Notice FAQs.
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