What claims and liens am I able to file for jobs after 90 days?
Mar 28, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've been having payment problems. Generally, when construction payments are owed but unpaid, the most powerful remedy available will be to file a mechanics lien. However, as you may know, the deadline to file a mechanics lien in Florida is 90 days from the last date when the claimant last furnished labor or materials. So, if more than 90 days pass from the time of last furnishing and no lien is filed, then the claimant will likely be unable to file a valid and enforceable mechanics lien. That doesn't mean payment can't be recovered, though. For one, claimants can send a warning or threat of lien - such as a Notice of Intent to Lien - regardless of whether a lien can or will be filed. Because mechanics liens are such a powerful tool, the mere threat of a lien claim is often enough to get payment talks moving. Of course, if the recipient of a Notice of Intent to Lien is aware of the mechanics lien deadline, utilizing a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien might be less successful. Still, options outside of the mechanics lien process could be successful. For one, threatening legal action when payment has not been made could work to compel payment. By sending a demand letter that lays out specific legal threats (such as, potentially, a breach of contract claim, unjust enrichment claim, or a claim under the Florida prompt payment laws), a claimant can show their customer that they're serious about payment - especially when such a demand is sent via attorney. Further, depending on the amount of the claim, small claims court might be an option. Yet another option could be to try and send the debt to collections - though, that would not lead to full recovery, and might not necessarily be a viable option. Finally, if push comes to shove, taking the payment dispute to litigation could be an option. Though, litigation can be risky and expensive. I hope that was helpful! If you have any other questions about Florida's lien and notice rules, this resource might help for other jobs moving forward: Florida Lien & Notice Overview.