Florida Lien Law for Homeowners

When a permit was issued for work to be done on your property, the Florida Statute wants you to be aware of the Construction Lien Law.

Please read the following Chapter 713 of the Florida Statues carefully.

The 2016 Florida Statutes

Title XL – Real and Personal Property

Chapter 713 – Liens, Generally

Part I – Construction Liens

 

713.135 Notice of commencement and applicability of lien.—

(1) When any person applies for a building permit, the authority issuing such permit shall:

(a) Print on the face of each permit card in no less than 14-point, capitalized, boldfaced type: “WARNING TO OWNER: YOUR FAILURE TO RECORD A NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT MAY RESULT IN YOUR PAYING TWICE FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR PROPERTY. A NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT MUST BE RECORDED AND POSTED ON THE JOB SITE BEFORE THE FIRST INSPECTION. IF YOU INTEND TO OBTAIN FINANCING, CONSULT WITH YOUR LENDER OR AN ATTORNEY BEFORE RECORDING YOUR NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT.”

(b) Provide the applicant and the owner of the real property upon which improvements are to be constructed with a printed statement stating that the right, title, and interest of the person who has contracted for the improvement may be subject to attachment under the Construction Lien Law. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall furnish, for distribution, the statement described in this paragraph, and the statement must be a summary of the Construction Lien Law and must include an explanation of the provisions of the Construction Lien Law relating to the recording, and the posting of copies, of notices of commencement and a statement encouraging the owner to record a notice of commencement and post a copy of the notice of commencement in accordance with s. 713.13. The statement must also contain an explanation of the owner’s rights if a lienor fails to furnish the owner with a notice as provided in s. 713.06(2) and an explanation of the owner’s rights as provided in s. 713.22. The authority that issues the building permit must obtain from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation the statement required by this paragraph and must mail, deliver by electronic mail or other electronic format or facsimile, or personally deliver that statement to the owner or, in a case in which the owner is required to personally appear to obtain the permit, provide that statement to any owner making improvements to real property consisting of a single or multiple family dwelling up to and including four units. However, the failure by the authorities to provide the summary does not subject the issuing authority to liability.

(c) In addition to providing the owner with the statement as required by paragraph (b), inform each applicant who is not the person whose right, title, and interest is subject to attachment that, as a condition to the issuance of a building permit, the applicant must promise in good faith that the statement will be delivered to the person whose property is subject to attachment.

(d) Furnish to the applicant two or more copies of a form of notice of commencement conforming with s. 713.13. If the direct contract is greater than $2,500, the applicant shall file with the issuing authority prior to the first inspection either a certified copy of the recorded notice of commencement or a notarized statement that the notice of commencement has been filed for recording, along with a copy thereof. In the absence of the filing of a certified copy of the recorded notice of commencement, the issuing authority or a private provider performing inspection services may not perform or approve subsequent inspections until the applicant files by mail, facsimile, hand delivery, or any other means such certified copy with the issuing authority. The certified copy of the notice of commencement must contain the name and address of the owner, the name and address of the contractor, and the location or address of the property being improved. The issuing authority shall verify that the name and address of the owner, the name of the contractor, and the location or address of the property being improved which is contained in the certified copy of the notice of commencement is consistent with the information in the building permit application. The issuing authority shall provide the recording information on the certified copy of the recorded notice of commencement to any person upon request. This subsection does not require the recording of a notice of commencement prior to the issuance of a building permit. If a local government requires a separate permit or inspection for installation of temporary electrical service or other temporary utility service, land clearing, or other preliminary site work, such permits may be issued and such inspections may be conducted without providing the issuing authority with a certified copy of a recorded notice of commencement or a notarized statement regarding a recorded notice of commencement. This subsection does not apply to a direct contract to repair or replace an existing heating or air-conditioning system in an amount less than $7,500.

(e) Not require that a notice of commencement be recorded as a condition of the application for, or processing or issuance of, a building permit. However, this paragraph does not modify or waive the inspection requirements set forth in this subsection.

(2) An issuing authority under subsection (1) is not liable in any civil action for the failure of the person whose property is subject to attachment to receive or to be delivered a printed statement stating that the right, title, and interest of the person who has contracted for the improvement may be subject to attachment under the Construction Lien Law.

(3) An issuing authority under subsection (1) is not liable in any civil action for the failure to verify that a certified copy of the recorded notice of commencement has been filed in accordance with this section.

(4) The several boards of county commissioners, municipal councils, or other similar bodies may by ordinance or resolution establish reasonable fees for furnishing copies of the forms and the printed statement provided in paragraphs (1)(b) and (d) in an amount not to exceed $5 to be paid by the applicant for each permit in addition to all other costs of the permit; however, no forms or statement need be furnished, mailed, or otherwise provided to, nor may such additional fee be obtained from, applicants for permits in those cases in which the owner of a legal or equitable interest (including that of ownership of stock of a corporate landowner) of the real property to be improved is engaged in the business of construction of buildings for sale to others and intends to make the improvements authorized by the permit on the property and upon completion will offer the improved real property for sale.

(5) In addition to any other information required by the authority issuing the permit, each building permit application must contain:

(a) The name and address of the owner of the real property;

(b) The name and address of the contractor;

(c) A description sufficient to identify the real property to be improved; and

(d) The number or identifying symbol assigned to the building permit by the issuing authority, which number or symbol must be affixed to the application by the issuing authority.

(6)(a) In addition to any other information required by the authority issuing the permit, the building permit application must be in substantially the following form:

Tax Folio No.  

BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION

Owner’s Name 

Owner’s Address 

Fee Simple Titleholder’s Name (If other than owner) 

Fee Simple Titleholder’s Address (If other than owner) 

City 

State    Zip   

Contractor’s Name 

Contractor’s Address 

City 

State    Zip   

Job Name 

Job Address 

City         County   

Legal Description 

Bonding Company 

Bonding Company Address 

City     State   

Architect/Engineer’s Name 

Architect/Engineer’s Address 

Mortgage Lender’s Name 

Mortgage Lender’s Address 

Application is hereby made to obtain a permit to do the work and installations as indicated. I certify that no work or installation has commenced prior to the issuance of a permit and that all work will be performed to meet the standards of all laws regulating construction in this jurisdiction. I understand that a separate permit must be secured for ELECTRICAL WORK, PLUMBING, SIGNS, WELLS, POOLS, FURNACES, BOILERS, HEATERS, TANKS, and AIR CONDITIONERS, etc.

OWNER’S AFFIDAVIT: I certify that all the foregoing information is accurate and that all work will be done in compliance with all applicable laws regulating construction and zoning.

WARNING TO OWNER: YOUR FAILURE TO RECORD A NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT MAY RESULT IN YOUR PAYING TWICE FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR PROPERTY. A NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT MUST BE RECORDED AND POSTED ON THE JOB SITE BEFORE THE FIRST INSPECTION.

IF YOU INTEND TO OBTAIN FINANCING, CONSULT WITH YOUR LENDER OR AN ATTORNEY BEFORE COMMENCING WORK OR RECORDING YOUR NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT.

  (Signature of Owner or Agent)  

  (including contractor)  

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF  

Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this   day of  ,   (year)  , by   (name of person making statement)  .

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced   

  (Signature of Contractor)  

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF  

Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this   day of  ,   (year)  , by   (name of person making statement)  .

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known   OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced   

(Certificate of Competency Holder)

Contractor’s State Certification or Registration No. 

Contractor’s Certificate of Competency No.  

APPLICATION APPROVED BY
    Permit Officer

(b)1. Consistent with the requirements of paragraph (a), an authority responsible for issuing building permits under this section may accept a building permit application in an electronic format, as prescribed by the authority. Building permit applications submitted to the authority electronically must contain the following additional statement in lieu of the requirement in paragraph (a) that a signed, sworn, and notarized signature of the owner or agent and the contractor be part of the owner’s affidavit:

OWNER’S ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION STATEMENT: Under penalty of perjury, I declare that all the information contained in this building permit application is true and correct.

2. For purposes of implementing a “United States Department of Energy SunShot Initiative: Rooftop Solar Challenge” grant and the participation of county and municipal governments, including local permitting agencies under the jurisdiction of such county and municipal governments, an owner or contractor shall not be required to personally appear and provide a notarized signature when filing a building permit application, if such building permit application will be electronically submitted to the permitting authority, the application relates to a solar project, and the owner or contractor certifies the application, consistent with this paragraph, using the permitting authority’s electronic confirmation system. For purposes of this subsection, a “solar project” means installing, uninstalling, or replacing solar panels on single-family residential property, multifamily residential property, or commercial property.

(c) An authority responsible for issuing building permit applications which accepts building permit applications in an electronic format shall provide public Internet access to the electronic building permit applications in a searchable format.

(d) An authority responsible for issuing building permits which accepts building permit applications in an electronic format for solar projects, as defined in subparagraph (b)2., is not liable in any civil action for any inaccurate information submitted by an owner or contractor using the authority’s electronic confirmation system.

(7) This section applies to every municipality and county in the state which now has or hereafter may have a system of issuing building permits for the construction of improvements or for the alteration or repair of improvements on or to real property located within the geographic limits of the issuing authority.

History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 67-185; s. 2, ch. 78-397; s. 1, ch. 84-26; s. 1, ch. 86-247; s. 4, ch. 87-74; s. 8, ch. 90-109; s. 3, ch. 91-102; s. 2, ch. 93-99; s. 230, ch. 94-218; s. 5, ch. 96-383; s. 4, ch. 97-219; s. 15, ch. 98-246; s. 71, ch. 99-5; s. 5, ch. 99-386; s. 5, ch. 2003-177; s. 2, ch. 2006-187; s. 9, ch. 2007-221; s. 18, ch. 2012-13.

 

 

The Following information is provide by Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR):

 

Florida's Construction Lien Law

Protect Yourself and Your Investment

According to Florida law, those who work on your property or provide materials, and are not paid-in-full, have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property. This claim is known as a construction lien.

If your contractor fails to pay subcontractors or material suppliers, the people who are owed money may look to your property for payment, even if you have paid your contractor in full. This means that if a lien is filed against your property, your property could be sold against your will to pay for labor, materials, or other services which your contractor may have failed to pay.

This document provides information regarding Florida Statute 713, Part 1, as it pertains to home construction and remodeling, and provides tips on how you can avoid construction liens on your   property.

 

Protecting Yourself

If you hire a contractor and the improvements cost more than $2,500, you should know the following:

• You may be liable if you pay your contractor and he then fails to pay his suppliers or contractors - There is a way to protect yourself. A Release of Lien is a written statement that removes your property from the threat of lien. Before you make any payment, be sure you receive this waiver from suppliers and subcontractors covering the materials used and work performed on your property.

• Request from the contractor, via certified or registered mail, a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who have a contract with the contractor to provide services or materials to your property.

• If your contract calls for partial payments before the work is completed, get a Partial Release of Lien covering all workers and materials used to that point.

• Before you make the last payment to your contractor, obtain an affidavit from your contractor that specifies all unpaid parties who performed labor, services or provided services or materials to your property. Make sure that your contractor provides you with final releases from these parties before you make the final payment.

• Always file a Notice of Commencement before beginning a home construction or remodeling project. The local authority that issues building permits is required to provide this form. You must record the form with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the property being improved is located. Also post a certified copy at the job site. (In lieu of a certified copy, you may post an affidavit stating that a Notice of Commencement has been recorded. Attach a copy of the Notice of Commencement to the affidavit.)

• In addition, the building department is prohibited from performing the first inspection if the Notice of Commencement is not also filed with the building department. You can also supply a notarized statement that the Notice has been filed, with a copy attached.

The Notice of Commencement notes the intent to begin improvements, the location of the property, description of the work and the amount of bond (if any). It also identifies the property owner, contractor, surety, lender and other pertinent information. Failure to record a Notice of Commencement or incorrect information on the Notice could contribute to your having to pay twice for the same work or materials.

 

Notice To Owner

Prior to filing a lien, a lienor who does not have a direct contract with the owner, must serve the owner with a Notice to Owner. The Notice to Owner must state the lienor's name and address, and a description of the real property and the nature of the services or materials being furnished. The Notice to Owner must be served before commencing, or within 45 days of commencing, to furnish the services or materials (but before owner's final payment to the contractor). A lien cannot be enforced unless the lienor has served the Notice to Owner as described above.

Whose Responsibility is it To Get These Releases?

You can stipulate in the agreement with your contractor that he must provide all releases of lien. If it is not a part of the contract, however, or you act as your own contractor, YOU must get the releases. If you borrow money to pay for the improvements and the lender pays the contractor(s) directly without obtaining releases, the lending institution may be responsible to you for any loss.

What Can Happen If I Don't Get Releases Of Lien?

You will not be able to sell your property unless all outstanding liens are paid. Sometimes a landowner can even be forced to sell his property to satisfy a lien.

Who Can Claim A Lien On My Property?

Contractors, laborers, materials suppliers, subcontractors and professionals such as architects, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers or land surveyors all have the right to file a claim of lien for work or materials.

Always require a release of lien from anyone who does work on your home.

Contesting A Lien

A lien is valid for one year, unless a lienor files a lawsuit to enforce the lien prior to the expiration of the year. An owner has a right to file a Notice of Contest of Lien during the one-year period. Upon the filing of a Notice of Contest of Lien, a lienor must file a lawsuit to enforce the lien within 60 days. Failure of the lienor to timely file a lawsuit renders the lien invalid.

 

THE CONSTRUCTION LIEN LAW IS COMPLEX AND CANNOT BE COVERED COMPLETELY IN THIS DOCUMENT. WE RECOMMEND THAT WHENEVER A SPECIFIC PROBLEM ARISES, YOU CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.

To register a complaint (or learn if complaints have been filed against a prospective contractor), contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's Customer Contact Center at: 850.487.1395 or CallCenter@dbpr.state.fl.us

Or write to: Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation - 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1027

Or visit online at: www.MyFloridaLicense.com

License verification is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by calling our Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or going online to www.MyFloridaLicense.com› Search for a Licensee.

You may also contact your local building department or the Better Business Bureau.