When can someone place a mechanic’s lien on a home’s title?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2022 | Construction Law

There’s a lot of tension in the relationship between a property owner and the professionals helping them remodel, repair or upgrade the home. Regardless of whether the property is an investment property or someone’s primary residence, homeowners often want top-notch service while also trying to select the lowest price possible. The companies providing them with materials and service would obviously like to generate as much profit as possible on the project.

Beyond that, homeowners want to retain some control over the outcome of the project by withholding payment until the completion of the project. That can sometimes lead to contractors or companies providing materials or doing the work for which they never receive payment.

Mechanic’s liens are a form of legal recourse that protect those that do work on residential properties. When can a contractor, company or supplier request a mechanic’s lien?

When a client defaults on payments

For a business or contractor to bring a successful mechanic’s lien request in Florida civil court, they will typically need documentation proving that they did work and that they fulfilled their end of the agreement. Any business or professional that delivers materials or provides any sort of expert work or consultation for a project may potentially have grounds to request a lien.

If a judge agrees that the homeowner failed to fulfill their end of the contract by paying, they can grant a mechanic’s lien. The party that requested the lien will then have to record it at the county recorder’s office to add it to the title history for the property. Anytime the owner wants to transfer, sell or refinance the property, they will need to first address the lien by paying it and having it removed.

Liens are usually a last resort

Most businesses would prefer to avoid going to court and securing a lien. Obtaining prompt payment from clients is almost always a better outcome. However, those who have not received payment for work on a construction project will only have 90 days from when they complete their work to make a claim, or they may lose their right to do so. Homeowners facing claims may be able to resolve the issue without the matter going to court or affecting the title record for the property.

Both businesses and homeowners may find themselves in a situation where they must head to court over a mechanic’s lien. Making sense of the laws that apply in construction disputes will help property owners and companies alike better protect themselves.