What is a lien under Florida law ? In its simplest form, a lien is a signal to the world that the lienholder has an interest in some property, real (land) or personal. The most common are construction liens recorded by “materialmen”, as the law defines that term, who improve property and aren’t fully paid. These can include, but are not limited to tradesmen, such as roofers, electricians, and plumbers. Judgments can also act as liens as well as Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statements (UCC-1s), if they are properly recorded and filed in the right places.
So what if you have a legal right to record a lien, why should you care ? Liens provide for lawful methods of seizing property. Liens also provide a party with special rights to property greater than those of other claimants. Consider this, would you want to sue another party and win a money judgment only to watch someone else swoop in and take all the assets because they had a greater right based on a lien ?!
So how do you know if you have a need or a legal right to record a lien ? You may have a right to a lien if you have participated in improving real property and have not been fully paid. You may also have a right to a lien if you have loaned money where the agreement provides for the debt to be secured. These are just some examples of common situations where lien rights arise.
Florida’s lien laws are very strict and failure to properly and timely comply with the requirements can expose a party to significant liability. DO NOT try this on your own. Saving a few bucks by doing it yourself in this area of the law in particular can cost you a substantial amount later. Improper liens or those deemed fraudulent by a Court, such as those where the recorder lacked the legal right to file the lien, can result in expensive lawsuits against for claims, such as quiet title and slander of title, that can expose the lienor to significant liability, including attorneys’ fees and punitive damages.
If you think you have a need or a right to record a lien or think that some party has wrongfully liened your property, you should first consult with an attorney that understands and has experience in real estate, construction, or real property litigation. Attorneys who are Board Certified in Real Estate, Construction Law, and Business Litigation are recognized by the Florida Bar, Judges, and their peers as experts in this field. You can obtain a listing of Board Certified attorneys from the Florida Bar’s website at http://www.flabar.org.
David Steinfeld, Esq.
Florida Bar Board Certified Business Litigation Lawyer
Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent (Highest) Peer Review Rated
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org