Contractors or subcontractors in Florida who have performed work on a construction project but have not been paid may file a claim known as a contractor's lien. Paying invoices sent by contractors on time is the best way to avoid a contractor's lien. If a contractor successfully files a lien against a property, the contractor will be paid from any proceeds that are obtained when the property is sold.
When work is completed and paid for, releases or waivers of liens should be obtained from all subcontractors. Without these waivers, the property may be subject to liens when the property is sold even if a contractor who was paid for the work failed to pay subcontractors on the job after completion of the work.
State construction law varies on whether contractors must give notice to a property owner when filing a lien. In some states, contractors may file a lien without any notice to the owner. Unlike mortgage liens, however, this type of lien cannot force a foreclosure.
An attorney experienced in construction law litigation may be able to help property owners, contractors and subcontractors who have questions about contractor's liens. Property owners may want to consult an attorney if they have questions about the validity of a contractor's lien.
Other legal issues that commonly arise in construction law involve contractual disputes and nonperformance. For example, a property owner may file a claim alleging breach of contract based on failure to execute the terms agreed upon, and a contractor may file a counterclaim alleging breach of contract based on nonpayment. An attorney may be able to help clients with these types of legal issues by carefully analyzing contracts and other documents and advising clients about what legal action they may be able to take. An attorney may be able to help successfully resolve some disputes through negotiation and mediation.