Florida’s construction lien law allows for contractors and subcontractors to enforce their claim of payment against the owner of a property if the lien holder – or lienor – has not paid in full for materials and services rendered. Unpaid contractors could take legal action against the property, which may enable it to be sold against the owner’s will. When this happens, the amount owed to the contractor is paid from the proceeds of the sale. If you are a contractor or subcontractor who is owed money by a property owner in Broward County, call Fort Lauderdale construction lien lawyer David S. Tupler, P.A., a highly experienced Florida construction attorney. He will help you file a claim of lien, which will maximize your chances of protecting what’s rightfully yours under State law.
LIEN ACTION COULD RESULT IN FORECLOSURE
If you are still owed money after a claim of lien is filed and it has been recorded, the contractor could file a court action to foreclose it. A judgment of this type may force the sale of the property, with payment from the settlement being awarded to the contractor.
Though many construction liens are paid before reaching the foreclosure stage, contractors occasionally find themselves stuck without payment for the work done, and without reimbursement for building materials. Retaining a Fort Lauderdale lien lawyer serves multiple purposes:
- It will show the property owner that you’re serious about collecting. In Florida, some delinquent property owners don’t see contractors as a threat until they retain counsel. In some cases, simply being contacted by an attorney could jolt them into compliance with their contract as the hint of legal action looms.
- If the property owner doesn’t respond to the legal demand letter, your Florida construction lien attorney could help you file a lawsuit.
- Instead of facing the repeated aggravation of attempting to contact the delinquent party yourself, your Broward lawyer will do so on your behalf so you can move on.
Once a claim of lien is filed in Broward County, the property owner may challenge its validity. The amount of the lien and untimely filing are two common reasons a lien could be deemed invalid.
PAYMENT BOND CLAIMS
In some private jobs and in contracts involving involving government entities, the lien right – which exists in non-government and non-public construction contracts – is replaced by a construction payment bond under a legal directive known as the Miller Act or Little Miller Act. Making a claim against real property in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Broward County as a means of collecting payment that is owed for services and materials, the contractor must file a claim against a payment bond. As is the case with a claim of lien, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers are required to prove they’re owed money for their services performed as part of the government contract.
You or your Broward County lien lawyer must file a Notice of Nonpayment within 90 days of the last day and file suit within 1 year following completion of labor on the project in question. First-tier subcontractors, second-tier subcontractors and suppliers may bring action. They may be required to give notice to the prime contractor and surety prior to filing suit. This notice must include the names of those seeking payment, as well as the unpaid materials used and services rendered.
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On certain projects – the owner as a recipient of construction-related services – requires a surety bond. A surety bond is a contract that involves a principal (contractor), an obligee (Owner) and a surety. The surety bond backs the bond by supplying a line of credit that is available in the event the principal does not perform as required by the construction contract. While surety companies often are part of larger insurance companies, surety bonds and insurance policies are different. Surety bonds exist to guarantee the principal’s contractual obligations and payment while insurance policies are utilized to provide compensation against unforeseen events. There are three types of surety bonds:
- Bid bonds financially protect the obligee if a contract is awarded to a bidder pursuant to bid documents, but the bidder does not sign the contract or provide the required services.
- Performance bonds protect the obligee against financial loss if the principal fails to perform as required by the contract’s terms and conditions. If the principal is declared by the obligee to be in default and if the obligee terminates the contract, the obligee may call on the surety to meet its obligations as set forth by the surety bond.
- Payment bonds assure compensation from the principal to material suppliers and subcontractors.
In addition to being a requirement for government projects, surety bonds could be required by private owners and lending institutions. General contractors also may require security bonds from their subcontractors. Your Fort Lauderdale construction lien attorney can help you determine whether or not a bond is in your best interest – a decision that could vary from project to project.
EXPERIENCED LIEN ATTORNEY IN BROWARD COUNTY
If you are caught up in a stressful, time-consuming contractual issue with a property owner or contractor in Fort Lauderdale, we can help. Our Broward County lien lawyers specialize in resolving tricky legal matters involving contracts, claims and other business disputes. We have a thorough understanding of state and federal construction laws, and we’ll work diligently to help you resolve your dispute or recover payment.
Whether battling a government entity, a corporation or another private party in Broward County, a Fort Lauderdale lien attorney at David S. Tupler, P.A. will provide you with sound legal advice unique to the circumstances surrounding your case. Our goal is to give you the maximum chance of obtaining a favorable result in your case in Florida court. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.