A mechanic’s lien, in the realm of construction and property development, is a powerful legal tool that contractors can wield to secure payment for their services. It essentially functions as a claim of money owed, with the property being developed is used as collateral for payment. However, for property owners in Florida, contesting a mechanic’s lien can be a daunting prospect. It’s important for property owners to know what a mechanic’s lien is and be able to explore the essential steps and strategies for contesting it within the framework of Florida’s legal regulations. To do so, it is highly recommended that the property owner retain the services of an experienced legal counsel who has frequently advised on similar matters.
Understanding Mechanic’s Liens
A mechanic’s lien is essentially a legal claim filed by a building contractor against a property. It serves as collateral, ensuring that the contractor receives the payment they are owed for their work on that property. In Florida, the specific laws governing mechanic’s liens can be found in Florida Statutes Chapter 713.
Enforceability and Duration of Mechanic’s Liens
It’s essential to note that mechanic’s liens in Florida are generally enforceable for one year from the date of filing. After this period, they become invalid unless the contractor and their legal representative take legal action in court to uphold the lien.
Contesting a Mechanic’s Lien: Two Options
When faced with a mechanic’s lien, property owners have options for contesting it. However, it’s crucial to act swiftly and consider seeking legal counsel for the best possible outcome. Here are two primary strategies:
1. File a Notice of Contest: One effective way to contest a mechanic’s lien is by filing a “Notice of Contest” with the county clerk’s office where the lien was recorded. This notice, when properly filed, significantly reduces the enforcement timeframe of a mechanic’s lien from one year to just 60 days. It serves as a formal declaration that the property owner disputes the validity of the lien, compelling the lien holder to take legal action promptly to prove their claim.
2. Bond Off the Lien: Another option is to “bond off” the lien. This involves removing the lien from the real estate property and placing it against a cash or surety bond of the same amount as the lien. This process allows the property owner to sell or finance the property without being adversely affected by the lien. Additionally, bonding off the lien sends a message to the contractor who placed the lien that immediate payment is not the property owner’s priority, as the lien is now secured by the bond.
“… mechanic’s liens in Florida are generally enforceable for one year from the date of filing.”
The Importance of Legal Counsel
Contesting a mechanic’s lien can be a complex and legally intricate process, requiring a thorough understanding of Florida’s statutes and procedures. Therefore, it is highly recommended that property owners facing a mechanic’s lien seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance, help navigate the legal nuances, and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the contestation process.
In conclusion, while a mechanic’s lien can present a formidable challenge for property owners in Florida, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Understanding your rights and options, acting promptly, and seeking legal counsel when needed can all contribute to a successful resolution when contesting a mechanic’s lien. By taking these steps, property owners can assert their rights and protect their property from unwarranted encumbrances.
South Florida Law
When preparing your paperwork to contest a mechanic’s lien placed on your property, be sure to do so with the assistance of a local attorney who has extensive construction law experience. With South Florida Law, you benefit from both big firm resources and small firm attention to detail and service. We have the construction law experience and local knowledge necessary to protect your business’ interests.
In the process of contesting a mechanic’s lien for an amount that you do not believe you owe? Reach out to South Florida Law today at (954) 900-8885 or via our contact form.