Construction liens need to be recorded within 90 days from the lienor’s final furnishing date on the project. This date is exclusive of punchlist or warranty work. The final furnishing date needs to be proven at trial to establish that the construction lien was timely recorded. If there is an evidentiary dispute as the final furnishing date (the contractor claims the date was “x” to establish the lien was timely and the owner claims the date was “y” to establish the lien was untimely), then the date is a question of fact to be determined by the jury.
For instance, in Best Drywall Services, Inc. v. Blasczyk, 2016 WL 6246701 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016), a contractor and owner entered into an oral agreement for a residential renovation project. The contractor recorded a construction lien after its final two invoices went unpaid. During trial, the contractor offered conflicting evidence as to when its final furnishing date on the project was. Numerous dates were offered in the record including dates that were more than 90 days prior to the date the contractor recorded its lien, meaning the lien was arguably untimely. As a result, the trial judge entered a directed verdict in favor of the owner and against the contractor on the contractor’s lien claim finding the lien was untimely recorded.
On appeal, the Second District reversed the directed verdict against the contractor on its construction lien expressing that the conflicting evidence on different final furnishing dates was sufficient to create an issue of fact for the jury to determine the timeliness of the contractor’s lien–“If there are conflicts in the evidence or different reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence, the issue is factual and should be submitted to the jury.” Best Drywall Services, Inc. supra quoting Simz v. Cristinzio, 898 So.2d 1004, 1005 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005).
The final furnishing date is an important part of any construction lien claim to establish the timeliness of the lien. Make sure this final furnishing date can be supported by reasonable competent evidence (testimonial evidence supported by daily reports, payroll records, pay apps, inspections, etc.).
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