If you are a contractor in DIRECT CONTRACT with an owner, serve a contractor final payment affidavit on the owner, as a matter of course, and without any undue delay, particularly if you are owed money and have recorded a construction lien. In numerous circumstances, I like to serve the contractor final payment affidavit with the construction lien.
The contractor final payment affidavit is not a meaningless form. It is a statutory form (set forth in Florida Statute s. 713.06) required to be filled out by a lienor in direct privity of contract with an owner and served on the owner at least 5 days prior to the lienor foreclosing its construction lien. The contractor final payment affidavit serves as a condition precedent to foreclosing a construction lien. Failure to timely serve a contractor final payment affidavit should result in a dismissal of the lien foreclosure lawsuit, presumably by the owner moving for a motion for summary judgment. This should not occur.
I always suggest working with a lawyer to finalize a contractor final payment affidavit (as well as the lien in order to utilize the advice of counsel defense) for two reasons. First, you will ideally want the amount in the affidavit to be the same as the lien amount. Second, you may want to include certain clarifications or exceptions in the final payment affidavit for amounts not included in the lien (e.g., delay-type damages or certain disputed change orders that you do not feel comfortable including in the lien).
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