When a construction lien is recorded, the lien can be transferred to a lien transfer bond (thereby removing the encumbrance or cloud on the property caused by the lien). The procedure to transfer a lien to a lien transfer bond is statutory in nature and governed under Florida Statute §713.24.
A lien does not necessarily have to be transferred to a bond immediately after the lien is recorded. Rather, an owner (or other person with interest in the property) can transfer the lien to a bond after the entity or person that recorded the lien (referred to as the “lienor”) files a lien foreclosure lawsuit. In this circumstance, it is important for the lienor to know that they must amend their lien foreclosure action to assert a claim against the lien transfer bond; otherwise, the lienor will essentially lose its lien rights. The lienor will not be able to foreclose the lien as to the property (because it was transferred to a bond) and the lienor will not be able to pursue its claim against the lien transfer bond.
This is exactly what happened in The Cool Guys, LLC d/b/a Paragon Indoor Air Quality v. Jomar Properties, LLC, 2012 WL 716084 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). In this case, the lienor recorded a construction lien and filed a lien foreclosure lawsuit. While the lawsuit was pending, the owner transferred the lien to a lien transfer bond. Under Florida Statute §713.24, if a lien is transferred to a bond during the pendency of a lien foreclosure lawsuit, the lienor must commence an action against the lien transfer bond within 1 year after the transfer. The lienor in this case, however, did not amend its lawsuit to assert a claim against the lien transfer bond until two years after it was transferred. The owner moved for summary judgment arguing that the lienor could no longer assert a claim against the bond because it waited more than one year after the lien was transferred to the bond to assert its claim on the bond. The trial court agreed which was affirmed by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. Thus, the lienor was neither able to foreclose its lien on the property or the bond.
Therefore, as an owner, it is important to know that a construction lien recorded on your property can be transferred to a lien transfer bond immediately or during the course of a lien foreclosure lawsuit. As the lienor moving to forclose the lien, it is important to know that when a lien is transferred to a lien transfer bond, the recourse is against the bond and not the real property.
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