As a subcontractor who works on large construction projects, you may be in the middle of a long line of people waiting for payment to come down from the owner and through the contractors and subcontractors. Just like all the others working on the project, you need the money promised to you so that you can pay the people you have promised money to.
According to The Florida Bar Journal, the state’s construction lien law provides recourse for you if your payment is not forthcoming.
How the lien law works
In the most straightforward of situations, your contract creates a legal relationship — privity — between you and the other party. If you do not receive payment for fulfilling your part of the contract, you can record an enforceable lien against the property of the other party.
Who can file a construction lien
Anyone in the line of people involved in the project who has a contract with the owner or one of the contractors, subcontractors or sub-subcontractors can file a lien against the owner’s property. Potential filers include the following:
The downstream flow does have a stopping point, though. For example, it does not include the alarm contractor contracting with the low-voltage contractor contracting with the electrical subcontractor. Similarly, a manufacturer cannot record a lien because the distributor did not receive payment for materials.
When to file a construction lien
You have 90 days to record your lien after the final furnishing date, which is the last day that you contributed to the project. Time limitations are most likely to be what leads to a lien dispute rather than a payment. The sooner you act, the better your chances of avoiding a complication.