Construction can be somewhat risky for people, and contractors, in Florida, and elsewhere. As a home or business owner, if you pay ahead of time, there is the potential that the work will not be completed. Likewise, as a contractor, if you are not paid before you start, there is a risk that you will not be paid for your work. For that reason, contracts are often used to help ensure that both sides are protected, and to avoid construction litigation. Many such contracts include Chapter 713 construction liens.
In general, construction liens are affidavits, which state under oath that the person furnishing labor, supplies, material or services for the purpose of improving a property has not been paid. This allows those providing construction services a means for collecting what they are owed should the property owner refuse to pay. It also ensures that property owners are not paying double for the same materials, labor or services.
Under Chapter 713 of the 2014 Florida Statutes, the inclusion of a construction lien is mandatory in certain direct contracts between owners and contractors. With few exceptions, this includes those contracts for improvements totaling more than $2,500 to privately owned single or multi-family dwellings of up to four units.
Not all contractors are entitled to these types of liens. By law, only contractors and other professionals, including interior designers, architects, engineers, sub-contractors, suppliers and mappers, may place a lien on properties they are improving. Unlicensed contractors, sub-sub-subcontractors, those working on government property and contractors working on properly bonded properties, however, are generally not entitled to construction liens.
This post has provided a general overview of Chapter 713 construction liens in the state of Florida. However, it is important to remember that there is often a range of complexities and legalities involved with construction contracts and liens. As such, this post should be taken only as general information, and not be considered professional legal advice.