Litigation and Construction Lien Lawyers

Gainesville, FL Construction Attorneys

The litigation and construction lien attorneys at our Gainesville, FL, law office understand the many intricacies of filing a successful construction and property liens. Contractors, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, material suppliers, laborers, and design professionals, as defined by Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, have the right to place a lien on real property if they perform work pursuant to a contract and they do not received payment. If a lien holder files suit and prevails, a piece of property, even homestead property, can be sold by judicial sale just like a bank foreclosure or tax foreclosure sale.

Understanding Lien Rights

If you are “lienor” under the definition of the Florida Statutes, there are complex and strict requirements you must follow in order to have valid lien rights. An improperly filed lien might not only be invalid, but could result in a property owner filing a claim for a fraudulent lien or for defamation of title. A lienor’s rights start with the contract. Direct contracts with owners are required by law to have specific language in them. Failure to include the language could result in loss of lien rights. Contractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers must serve a document known as a “Notice to Owner” within 45 days of their first day of work on a project in order to even have a chance to file a valid lien down the road, even though there were no known problems within 45 days of the first day of work. 

If you are a person or a company that may have lien rights as a result of performing design work, construction services, or providing supplies to a project, the Board Certified Construction Law Specialists at Warner Sechrest & Butts can help you set up your business practices to protect your lien rights on every job.

If you are a project owner, ranging from a homeowner having a small project done, to an owner of a commercial real estate project, it is critical that you understand the steps you must take to protect your property against liens. Even if you pay your contractor, the contractor's failure to pay subcontractors or suppliers could result in the filing of a construction lien against your property. You must obtain a release of lien from your contractor and every lienor giving notice at the time of payment in order to protect your property. The board-certified construction lawyers at Warner, Sechrest & Butts can help you set up a construction project payment procedure designed to make your project as safe as possible against construction liens.

Lien Litigation in Florida

As mentioned above, lien law is governed primarily by Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes. Following the proper procedures and actually recording a claim of lien against a piece of property in and of itself is only part of the procedure. A lien holder must file a lawsuit to foreclose the lien in order to enforce it against a property. There are causes of action arising out of Chapter 713 other than lien foreclosure actions as well. For instance, lenders must notify contractors within 5 days if no further draw payments are going to made on a project or the lender may have liability to the contractor. Lenders may be liable to an owner for disbursing construction funds without receiving releases of lien. A contractor may be liable to a subcontractor for receiving construction funds and not making payment to the subcontractor. Lawsuits may also be filed for fraudulent or exaggerated claims of lien. 

The board-certified construction lawyers at Warner, Sechrest & Butts have experience litigating all types of litigation arising out of Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes.

View our Checklist for Construction Liens & Statutory Surety Bonds.