When it comes to construction lien rights, not everyone that touches the project is a proper lienor. Forget about timely serving a Notice to Owner or recording a claim of lien, if you are not a proper lienor, it does not matter if you properly perfected your lien rights. If you are not a proper lienor, you have NO lien rights under the law!
Florida Statue s. 713.01(18) defines a lienor as follows:
(18) “Lienor” means a person who is:
(a) A contractor;
(b) A subcontractor;
(c) A sub-subcontractor;
(d) A laborer;
(e) A materialman who contracts with the owner, a contractor, a subcontractor, or a sub-subcontractor; or
(f) A professional lienor under s. 713.03;
and who has a lien or prospective lien upon real property under this part, and includes his or her successor in interest. No other person may have a lien under this part.
Let’s break this down.
A contractor is one other than a materialman (supplier) or laborer that enters into a contract with the owner to improve the owner’s property. A contractor can be a design-builder. Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(8).
A subcontractor is one other than a materialman (supplier) or laborer who is hired by the contractor. This definition would include a labor company that furnishes skilled or unskilled labor. Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(28).
A sub-subcontractor is one other than a materialman (supplier) or laborer who is hired by the subcontractor. Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(29). This definition would also include a labor company.
A laborer is a person (excluding a professional) that enters into a contract to personally perform improvements to the property. Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(16). This definition would not include a labor company. See V L Orlando Bldg. Corp. v. Skilled Services Corp., 769 So.2d 526 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000).
A materialman (supplier) furnishes materials to an owner, contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor but does not perform labor. Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(20). This includes a supplier of rental equipment. Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(13).
A professional lienor is an architect, landscape architect, engineer, interior designer, or surveyor and mapper who has a direct contract with the owner or performs professional services that improves the real property. Fla. Stat. s. 713.03.
You can also check out this chart for guidance. Make sure to consult with counsel if you have questions regarding your lien rights. There is no reason not to.
Please contact David Adelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.