How long do you have to enforce a mechanic’s lien in Florida?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Firm News

Construction companies, material suppliers and even subcontractors can potentially request a mechanic’s lien after doing work on a residential property in Florida. It is common for construction work to start with only part of the total cost paid beforehand.

When a property owner does not pay for the services they receive, the professionals who did not receive appropriate compensation for materials provided or services rendered can request a mechanic’s lien.

A Florida mechanic’s lien is a clear record filed at the county recorder’s office that indicates the property owner owes money to someone so that the business or contractor can receive full payment should that property owner refinance or sell the property in question. However, a mechanic’s lien will only protect the financial interests of those who obtain the lien if they take the appropriate steps to enforce the lien in civil court.

There is a one-year limit on enforcement actions

If you’re seeking repayment, it may seem like bureaucratic red tape to have to go back to court a second time when you have already been to court once to obtain a lien. However, unless you go back to take enforcement action, you will remain dependent on the property owner to make good on their obligations to you.

Some people will pay after the courts grant a mechanic’s lien on their property out of fear that the holder will enforce the lien. They will make arrangements to pay in full or start making occasional payments to reduce their balance.

Others won’t pay despite the lien, forcing the lienholder to go back to court. An enforcement action will involve the courts potentially ordering the sale of the property to generate the necessary funds to pay you for the work or materials provided. Even the most contentious and difficult former customer will likely make payments when the property they own is at risk.

If you don’t take enforcement action quickly enough, the lien may effectively become worthless. Although no one wants to take legal action that could deprive someone of their property, sometimes it is necessary for those who work on homes to take such steps to get the payment they deserve. Learning more about Florida’s real estate and construction laws can help those dealing with unpaid invoices and similar contract issues.