Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>My business provides expediting services to Private Providers in Maimi FL. Essentially we pull permits for the projects so that construction can commence and continue. Is it possible to file a lien on the project for non payment by the private provider for our services?
My business provides expediting services to Private Providers in Maimi FL. Essentially we pull permits for the projects so that construction can commence and continue. Is it possible to file a lien on the project for non payment by the private provider for our services?
We pull permits for the private provider, who is hired by the owner of construction projects. We have not received payment for our services. Essentially without these permits, construction would stop or never get started.
Feb 22, 2019
That's an interesting question. Before getting too far along, it's worth noting that regardless of whether a construction business would actually be entitled to file a valid and enforceable mechanics lien, the threat or warning of lien can be a strong tool for recovery. We discuss that idea more in this article "What is a Notice of Intent to Lien?". As more thoroughly explored in that article, because a lien claim is such a powerful tool, the mere warning that a lien claim will be coming (made to both a potential claimant's customer and the owner of the property) can put enough pressure on a customer to compel payment. As for the ability to lien itself... Generally, mechanics lien rights are available to those who perform construction work that permanently improves the project property. Where work is performed that does not directly tie to the property's improvement (i.e. on-site, physical work or supplies), the ability to file and enforce a mechanics lien gets hazy.
Florida is relatively broad in prescribing which parties will be entitled to lien, but does limit who may file a lien to a degree. Under § 713.02(4) of the Florida lien statute, parties who are not under direct contract with an owner and perform "labor or services or furnish materials constituting a part of an improvement" will have the right to file a lien claim, if unpaid. While securing permitting is a crucial part of the construction process, and while a party is contracted to perform that function may be entitled to use some recovery tool to force payment for that function, there's a fair chance that type of work would not be considered a part of the improvement itself. Potentially, one could argue that work might fall under "services" and therefore entitle a potential claimant to file a Florida mechanics lien. But again, traditionally, lien rights will apply to parties who's work permanently improves the property itself.
Further - when a party has been hired by someone other than the owner of the property, in order to be able to later file a valid Florida mechanics lien, a Notice to Owner must be sent. So, even where a claimant may perform lienable work, if Notice to Owner is not properly sent, that potential lien right could not result in a valid and enforceable lien claim. For more information on Florida lien claims, this resource should be valuable: Florida Lien & Notice FAQs.