Tenant states he may not be able to pay for the project which is almost complete
Mar 6, 2019
Good question! For prospective lien claimants who were not hired directly by the owner, sending a Notice to Owner is required in order to preserve the right to make a lien claim in Florida. Now, under § 713.01(23), an "owner" is defined as "the owner of any legal or equitable interest in real property, which interest can be sold by legal process, and who enters into a contract for the improvement of the real property." That makes things a little hazier as to whether a tenant is considered an "owner" for purposes of Florida's notice to owner requirement. However, considering the rest of the Florida lien statute does contemplate tenant improvements, and considering the statute doesn't indicate that Notice to Owner isn't required when hired by a tenant specifically, it's likely fair to assume that notice is required. Plus, when in doubt, it's better to send notice anyway. That way (1) all bases are covered, and the right to lien won't be lost due to failure to send an NTO, and (2) the owner will have a good idea of who's working on their project - and improved project transparency and communication goes a long way toward avoiding payment disputes. For more on Florida's notice requirement, these resources should be helpful: (1) Florida's Notice to Owner Requirement; and (2) Florida Lien & Notice FAQs.