This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can a Contractor Sue After an Invalid Lien in Florida?

Question from Erin Fenced, Can a Contractor Sue After an Invalid Lien in Florida?

Answer from AI:

When dealing with a situation where a contractor has not fulfilled their contractual obligations and has also filed a lien incorrectly, it’s important to understand your rights and the potential legal implications. In Florida, the construction lien law is designed to protect both property owners and contractors, but it has specific requirements that must be adhered to.

Understanding Florida’s Lien Law

In Florida, contractors must file a lien within 90 days of the last day of providing labor, services, or materials. If a contractor places a lien on your property six months after the last day of work, as you’ve described, this lien would not be valid under Florida law.

Florida Statutes Section 713.08 outlines the requirements for enforcing lien laws, including the time frame for filing a lien. You can review the statute for more detailed information on the lien process.

Invalid Lien and Potential for Lawsuit

Even if the lien is not valid due to being filed late, a contractor may still attempt to recover payment by other means, such as filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit on a written contract in Florida is generally five years, according to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(2)(b). This means that the contractor could potentially file a lawsuit within this time frame to seek payment for the work performed.

Failed County Code Inspection

The fact that the fence failed county code inspection and was not installed per the agreement are significant issues. These factors could be used as defenses in the event of a lawsuit, as they demonstrate that the contractor did not fulfill their contractual obligations.

Steps to Take

  1. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all communications with the contractor, the contract agreement, the failed inspection report, and any other relevant documents.
  2. Consult with an Attorney: Given the complexity of construction law and the potential for a lawsuit, it’s advisable to consult with a Florida-licensed attorney who specializes in construction or contract law for personalized advice.
  3. Challenge the Lien: If the contractor has filed an invalid lien, you may need to take legal action to have it removed. An attorney can assist you with this process.
  4. Prepare for Possible Litigation: Although the lien itself may not be enforceable, be prepared for the possibility of a lawsuit by gathering evidence and understanding your legal defenses.

Conclusion

While the incorrectly filed lien may not be a concern due to its invalidity under Florida law, the possibility of a lawsuit remains as long as it is within the statute of limitations for contract disputes. It’s important to be proactive in addressing the situation, starting with consulting a legal professional who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Remember, this information is not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

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