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Florida Notice to Owner

Answers to frequently asked questions by subcontractors & material suppliers.

Why should I file a Notice to Owner?
A Notice to Owner is the first step in securing your lien rights. Florida’s construction lien law requires subcontractors and material suppliers to file a Notice to Owner first, before recording a Claim of Lien.

Plus, thanks to its payment leveraging effects, a Notice to Owner can be the sole reason you receive compensation.

Who is required to file?
A subcontractor or material supplier, who does not have a direct contract with the owner and is making improvements to the property (new construction or remodeling), must serve a Notice to Owner in order to obtain lien rights to the property.

When must I file?
The owner must receive the Notice to Owner within 45 days from the first day of work on the construction project or delivery of materials.

If the Notice to Owner is received in time, the lienor may record a Claim of Lien on the real property should payment not be received.

If you have proof of when it is mailed, Florida statutes say a Notice to Owner mailed by the 40th day is automatically considered to be timely, regardless of when it is actually received.
In cases where the Notice to Owner is sent after the 40th day, it must be received by the 45th day to retain lien rights. We recommend sending by overnight service to ensure it is received in time. This can be very costly. We do not recommend sending by United States Postal Service (USPS), since it can take varying lengths of time to be delivered.

What’s the difference between a Notice to Owner and a construction lien?
The Notice to Owner is not a lien on the property. It does not mean a contractor has failed to pay the company who has given the Notice to Owner. It merely informs the recipient that the company identified in the Notice to Owner is on a specific construction project, and it provides a general description of the type of materials the company is supplying or the type of construction work they will be performing and with whom they have a direct contract.

What is a lien waiver?
Before paying a contractor, the property owner must make sure the person who has given the Notice to Owner has been paid by the contractor. This is done by getting a lien waiver from the person identified in the Notice to Owner (see the lienor's name, address and phone number).

If a construction lender is paying the contractor directly, the lender is responsible for getting the necessary lien waivers. The property owner should check with the lender to verify that they will be managing these documents in connection with each payment to the contractor. Upon final payment to the contractor, the property owner should be provided with all final Waiver of Lien releases.

Florida’s construction lien law is complex and cannot be covered completely in this section. We recommend that whenever a specific problem arises you consult an attorney.

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