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Sweeney Law, PA Fort Lauderdale Business Lawyer
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Materialman And Construction Lien Basics


As the name implies, a materialman is anybody that supplies construction materials to any company, contractor or subcontractor, on a construction site. As defined in the law, a materialman does not actually do any of the installation of whatever is supplied.

Just like anybody in the long line of companies that provide services and supplies on a construction site, often it happens that a materialman is not paid. When that happens, the company can assert a lien. The lien is on the property that was supplied to or constructed for the owner.

Requirements for Materialman’s Liens

When a materialman asserts a lien, the laws are a little easier for the materialman to follow than the laws that apply to construction companies or subcontractors are.

For example, materialmen don’t have to supply a final affidavit. However, a materialman does have to inform the owner of the property, within 45 days after furnishing supplies, that the owner has to ensure that the materialman gets paid—even if the owner isn’t the party contractually responsible to pay the materialman.

Construction and Mechanics Liens in General

The materialman still must comply with the laws that have to do with mechanics liens.

Mechanics liens can be filed by anybody on a construction project, including any contractors, laborers or design professionals. A notice must be sent to the owner of the property, informing it that you intend to file a mechanics lien.

The lien is filed with the clerk of the court wherever the property is located (which may be different than where your company is located, or where you were supposed to be paid). Your lien must be filed within 90 days of the completion of the project.

After filing the lien, you must then serve the lien on the owner, within 15 days.

After the lien is filed, assuming the lien was filed and served in accordance with Florida law, you then will have a one year time deadline to file a lawsuit acting on the lien.

One benefit of a lien, which often leads to payment, is that it encumbers the construction project, much like a lien on your residential homestead property would encumber your house. Property cannot be sold, transferred, and in some cases, the owner won’t be able to take out any loans or mortgages on the property, if there is a recorded lien. In some cases, the lienor may be able to initiate a foreclosure action on the property, to pay off the lien.

No Contract Needed

Technically, the law does not require a written contract to exist, for there to be a right to file a mechanics lien. However, for a number of reasons, it is always best to have written contracts.

Note that all of this advice has to do with liens, which help you get paid. But even if you were to err in the filing of your lien, an invalid or unenforceable lien doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to go to court, and enforce your right to be paid.

Are you owed money for work or materials supplied to a construction project? Call our Fort Lauderdale construction attorneys at Sweeney Law P.A. at 954 440-3993 for help today.


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