QUICK NOTE: A CONSTRUCTION LIEN IS NOT INTENDED TO LAST INDEFINITELY

A construction lien is not intended to last forever.  A construction lien must be recorded within one year from its recording date because a construction lien only lasts for one year by operation of law.   You will not be able to foreclose a construction lien after this one-year period expires.  This is why it is always good practice to calendar the expiration of this one-year period when a construction lien is recorded.   There is never a good reason to engage in a last minute scramble to file a foreclosure lawsuit on the expiration date (or shortly before).      While I always believe a lienor should work with counsel to record a construction lien, regardless, I would certainly recommend a lienor to work with counsel to ensure lien rights are properly perfected so that when it becomes necessary to foreclose the lien, the strategy is in place to file the foreclosure lawsuit.

 

Importantly, an owner can shorten the one-year period for a lienor to foreclose its construction lien by properly recording a Notice of Contest of Lien.  A Notice of Contest of Lien will shorten the period for a lienor to foreclose its construction lien to sixty days.   It is always beneficial to record the Notice of Contest of Lien sooner than later because it puts the onus on the lienor to either foreclose the construction lien or lose its lien and ability to foreclose its lien by operation of law.  That’s right – if the lienor does not foreclose its lien within the sixty-day window, it will have lost its lien rights.   There are times where an owner of real property records a Notice of Contest of Lien without the use of counsel.  I do not suggest this for a couple of reasons.  First, you want to ensure this is done right and, second, there may be other strategic decisions that may be better implemented based on the circumstances of the dispute.

 

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

 

QUICK NOTE: NOTICE OF CONTEST OF CLAIM AGAINST PAYMENT BOND

imagesOn private jobs where the general contractor has an unconditional payment bond, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers need to serve a notice of nonpayment to preserve payment bond rights.

 

Just like an owner can record a Notice of Contest of Lien to shorten a lienor’s statute of limitations to foreclose the lien to 60 days, a general contractor can record a Notice of Contest of Claim Against Payment Bond.  See Fla. Stat. s. 713.23(e).  When a contractor records a Notice of Contest of Claim Against Payment Bond, the contractor is contesting the notice of nonpayment and shortening the claimant’s period to sue on the payment bond to 60 days from the date of service of the notice.  

 

This tool is used less frequently than the Notice of Contest of Lien; however, it can be a very successful tool for a contractor to use when receiving a notice of nonpayment.

 

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

AN AMENDED LIEN DOES NOT DELAY THE 60 DAY WINDOW TO FORECLOSE A LIEN WHEN A NOTICE OF CONTEST OF LIEN IS RECORDED

imagesI previously discussed the value of an owner recording a Notice of Contest of Lien under Florida Statute s. 713.22 to shorten a lienor’s statute of limitations to foreclose a construction lien to 60 days from the date the lien is contested.   For more information on recording a Notice of Contest of Lien please look at this posting and this posting.

 

What happens if after a Notice of Contest of Lien is recorded the lienor amends its construction lien? For instance, say the following sequence occurs:

 

1:  Lien

2:  Notice of Contest of Lien

3: Amended Lien

 

Does an owner need to record another Notice of Contest of Lien for the Amended Lien?  If an owner does, then a lienor could extend its 60 day window to foreclose its lien by simply recording an amended lien.

 

This exact scenario was addressed long ago by the Florida Supreme Court in Jack Stilson & Co. v. Caloosa Bayview Corp., 278 So.2d 282 (Fla. 1973) which held that the foreclosure of an amended lien MUST still be brought within the 60 days from the initial Notice of Contest of Lien.  In other words, the recording of an amended lien does NOT toll (or stop) the running of the 60 day window to foreclose the lien when a Notice of Contest of Lien is recorded.

 

Therefore, if you are an owner, there is certainly a benefit to recording a Notice of Contest of Lien.  Conversely, if you are a contractor, do not think you can delay or escape the 60 day window to foreclose your construction lien if you received a Notice of Contest of Lien by simply amending your lien.

 

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.