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What is the process to file a lien in Florida for licensed, permitted and engineered work?

FloridaMechanics Lien

Did work for a customer who did not pay.

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Jul 5, 2018
Good question! First, whether a mechanics lien will be an option will depend on whether the work performed was lienable and whether the necessary requirements were fulfilled. Florida is pretty generous with lien rights - Prime contractors, subcontractors, sub-subs, laborers, material supplier to owner/contractor/sub/or sub-sub, and professionals (including architects, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers, surveyors or mappers) can all file liens. While these parties will have the right to lien, certain requirements must be fulfilled. Namely, the mechanics lien deadline is strict. In Florida, a claimant must file their lien within 90 days of the last date they provide labor or materials. Also, depending on the claimant's role on the job, preliminary notice might have been required early on the job. If notice was required and not sent, a claimant will not be able to proceed with a valid mechanics lien. In Florida, all parties other than wage laborers and those who have a direct contractual relationship with the owner must send a Notice to Owner within the earlier of: 1) 45 days from first furnishing services or materials, 2) 45 days from when work begins on making specialty materials, or 3) 45 days before owner’s final payment to prime contractor. Anyway, as long as the work was lienable and the above requirements were met, a claimant will likely be able to file a valid mechanics lien. Finally, to the question at hand: The process of filing a mechanics lien in Florida is pretty simple. First, a claimant must prepare a lien form and have it notarized. You can find that form here. Next, an original copy of the form must be recorded in the clerk's office of the county where the work was performed. Electronic recording may be an option, here, and to find out searching "e-record in (county name)" should be helpful here. When recording, be prepared to pay the exact recording fee (which may vary by county). Once the document is recorded, a claimant should make a copy for their own records. But the process isn't done there - Florida law requires that the lien be served on the owner of the liened property either before or immediately after the lien is recorded. At the latest, the copy of the lien should be served within 15 days of recording. A failure to provide this copy as notice of the lien filing could render the lien voidable. It's worth noting that while a claimant can certainly file a lien themselves, many claimants opt to use an online service to file their lien, and some might even pay for an attorney to do it. zlien's online service can be found here.
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