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A Notice of Commencement is a document that officially establishes the beginning date of a project, or the date on which a supplier first afforded materials or labor. It is filed and recorded in the requisite local or state office in the county in which the project is situated, and usually must be provided to other project participants and posted on the jobsite.

Filing a Notice of Commencement

A Notice of Commencement is recorded by the owner or primary contractor, however that filing may result in a requirement that the sub-contractor, material or equipment supplier also file a Notice of Commencement as well.

The filing of a Notice of Commencement by an owner or primary contractor can influence the deadlines and filing timeline for second tier suppliers and laborers. It can also protect the owner because it generates a limit on when a lien can be filed, and limits the amount of liability for such a lien. A lien that is sent late may not be able to attach to the property.

Most of the time, the timeline for filing a mechanics lien runs from when you first provided labor or materials to a construction project. This works out well if you can precisely identify and document the date you started, but if you do not keep detailed records, or if someone challenges the date, then you can possibly find yourself in a difficult situation. Thus, it is important to file a Notice of Commencement to set a clear, formal date, for calculating all of these other deadlines.

Notice of Commencement Requirements

When making enhancements on a property that exceeds $2500, filing a Notice of Commencement is practically necessary to protect yourself. In accordance with Chapter 713, of the Florida Statutes, the Notice should provide detailed information to everyone working on a project. Specifically, it must provide the following information:

  • Legal description of the property and complete address;
  • A description of what improvements will be made to the property;
  • Owner’s name and address. If different from the owner, the identifying information of the fee simple titleholder;
  • The contractor’s information;
  • The surety’s information (including bond amount);
  • The lender’s information;
  • Identifying information of the owner’s representative;
  • The Notice of Commencement expiration date; and
  • Appropriate signatures.

This information is important because workers that offer labor and materials for the project depend on the information in the Notice of Commencement to file a Notice to Owner or a preliminary notice to secure their lien rights. Failing to provide complete and detailed information in the notice is a costly mistake.

Filing a Notice of Commencement

The Notice must be filed before a project begins, but no more than 90 days before a project begins. But, failing to begin the project within 30 days of recording the Notice will void it. Once the Notice of Commencement is finished and duly executed, the document is filed with the register or recorder of deeds in the county where the construction project will commence. Furthermore, a copy of the Notice of Commencement must be posted at the job site itself.

The Notice of Commencement is posted at the job site to allow subcontractors the ability to access information about the owners of the property as well as the general contractor for the project. They need this information to guarantee that they have all necessary information to get payment for their work on the project.

The failure to appropriately file the Notice of Commencement and post it at the job site is considered a legal violation. As is further explained below, the failure to fully comply with the law pertaining to a Notice of Commencement may sometimes result in consequences that can be relatively serious.

Failure to File a Notice of Commencement

The failure to properly prepare, file and post the Notice of Commencement can subject the owner to severe financial consequences. For instance, if the owner has paid money for the project to the contractor and the contractor deserts the project, taking the money along with him, the owner will have to make payment again straight to the subcontractors. When an owner has conformed with the law governing a Notice of Commencement, he or she will not be required to make a second round of payments to the subcontractors in most cases.

Sweeney Law, P.A. Has Vast Complex Construction Experience

Brendan A. Sweeney, Esq., LL.M., of Sweeney Law, P.A., a boutique firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, regularly handles complex litigation matters throughout Florida. Brendan A. Sweeney, Esq., LL.M. is an AV Preeminent Martindale Rated Attorney, that has been recognized as a Florida Super Lawyer in 2019, Florida Legal Elite in 2019, and as a Florida Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014. If you have any questions and/or issues regarding Notices of Commencement contact Sweeney Law, P.A. at (954) 440-3993 immediately to protect your rights.


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