David S. Tupler, P.A. DAVID S. TUPLER, P.A.
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Two contracts; Two mechanic’s liens

September 2, 2016

EXPLAINING THE PROCESS

Clients sometimes ask us whether they need to do two (2) separate mechanic’s liens when they have two (2) small contracts on the same project in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood. They call hoping that the answer will be that they can get away with one (1) lien. This is either because they did not do two (2) Notice to Owners, they do not want to have to file two (2) separate liens or they just want to avoid the cost and inconvenience associated with doing two (2) liens. The general rule is that your lien rights follow your contract rights.

As such, if your contract dispute involves an owner who you contract with to do certain improvements to his property and in the course of the construction he desires to have other work done on the same property and you have that formalized in the form of a second separate written agreement you (or your Fort Lauderdale contract lawyer) have an obligation to file two (2) liens rather than one (1). By the same regard if you are not dealing directly with the owner of the property you need to make sure that you do two (2) separate Notice to Owners as well as two (2) separate Claim of Liens in Broward County.

ENSURE THAT EACH CONTRACT HAS A CLEAR PURPOSE

Getting paid under both contracts typically involves providing partial Releases of Lien during the course of the project. The fact that there are two (2) separate contracts along with two (2) corresponding Notice to Owners will certainly complicate things further with regard to providing Releases. The simplest solution is to make reference to which contract the Release relates to. This can be done by assigning a contract number to each contract and making reference to that contract number in the Release. A more detailed analysis of Releases is a subject for a future article.

The bottom line is if one is working on a project under two (2) or more separate contracts each contract is treated separately with regard to one’s lien rights and as a result, two (2) liens are needed. The good news is that if it is necessary to file suit, you can file suit on both liens under one lawsuit and at least minimize the expenses involved in litigation based on the fact that only one (1) lawsuit is necessary. The contents of this article may not be good news for many in the construction industry from a simplicity standpoint but it is better that you are aware of the facts and your rights under the law and deal with those complications during the course of the job rather than discovering you have lost your lien rights on a portion of the work done on a specific project.

Matters involving construction liens in Broward County can be complicated. Always seek the guidance of an experienced Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale construction lien attorney before filing or responding to a lawsuit.