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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Submitted proposal to homeowner and it was accepted. Work began. Paid weekly for work performed. Agreement states "10% of cost of job due upon satisfactory completion of project." Homeowner decided to terminate agreement with no notice and no explanation. Now refusing to pay on the 10% clause because the project is not complete. Can I file a lien for those monies? In Florida

Submitted proposal to homeowner and it was accepted. Work began. Paid weekly for work performed. Agreement states "10% of cost of job due upon satisfactory completion of project." Homeowner decided to terminate agreement with no notice and no explanation. Now refusing to pay on the 10% clause because the project is not complete. Can I file a lien for those monies? In Florida

FloridaRight to Lien

Do not have contract but have a signed acceptance of proposal from homeowner. Invoiced weekly and were paid weekly. Agreement states we are to receive "10% of total cost of project upon satisfactory completion." Job is on hold due to permitting but during this time, homeowners decided to terminate the agreement we were working under. Invoiced for the 10% of the cost of the work we completed up until they terminated without notice or reason and they say they are not paying because the project is not complete. Do I still have mechanics lien rights since they terminated the agreement without allowing us the opportunity to complete?

1 reply

Apr 5, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. There's always a tricky balance between retainage and mechanics lien rights. But, before discussing which amounts might be subject to lien, it's worth mentioning that many claimants are able to recover payment without the need for an actual lien filing. By sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien, a potential claimant can put their customer on notice that if payment isn't made soon, a lien filing will take place. Considering the power of a mechanics lien claim itself, a Notice of Intent to Lien will often be enough to get payment talks moving. Plus, a claimant could always proceed with their lien claim if the lien warning is unsuccessful. This resource has more information on the subject: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Anyway, regarding the amount of Florida liens... Mechanics liens are generally available for amounts owed for construction work performed but left unpaid. While a contract might state that payment for work performed won't be due until completion - that merely moves the timeframe for when payment will be made, not the obligation to make payment for work that was actually done. Looking to the Florida mechanics lien statute, § 713.08(g) sets out what amount should appear on a lien claim as "The amount unpaid the lienor for such labor or services or materials and for unpaid finance charges due under the lienor’s contract." Further, § 713.05, which sets out lien rights for those under direct contract with the owner states claimants have a lien "for any money that is owed to him or her for labor, services, materials, or other items required by, or furnished in accordance with, the direct contract and for unpaid finance charges due under the lienor’s contract." So, where amounts owed are directly tied to work that's already been performed, generally, those amounts are subject to lien. For more information on Florida lien laws, these resources should be helpful: (1) Florida Mechanics Lien Overview; and (2) How to File a Florida Lien.
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