Florida Mechanic’s Lien–Pre-Lien Notice
In a previous article we discussed the statutory requirement of serving a pre-lien notice for subcontractors and suppliers as a condition precedent to recording your mechanic’s lien in Florida. The notice is called: “Notice to Owner–Notice to Contractor”. It must be served within 40 days of first commencing your work.
But the real question is how to perfect service. Most statues give you the ability to serve these notices personally, either by way of the Sheriff’s office or a professional process server. This tends to be an overkill. It may also endanger your relationship with the general and the owner as it is too drastic a method of service.
So Florida statute Section 713.18 now gives clarity to the situation and allows either personal service, certified mail or posting at the jobsite. As to the latter, it would be in some kind of sign in a conspicuous position. But why do anything other than certified mail? It is cheaper and easier to process and still meets the legal requirements.
Other provisions of the statute speak in terms of maintaining a certified mail log or proof of mailing. It is uncertain exactly what is meant, but it would appear to be sufficient if you simply use the standard green form with a stamped receipt given directly by your post office. It is recommended you do it the old-fashioned way–physically going to the post office so you can receive their official stamped receipt.
Remember also that all is not lost if you do not mail the notice within 40 days of first furnishing labor or materials on your Florida mechanic’s lien. It is still legally effective if you have performed unpaid work within 40 days of mailing the notice.
But by far, the better way to perfect your Florida lien, is to mail out the notices as soon as your contract is signed. Remember, there is no such thing as a premature pre-lien notice. Only a late one.
Remember, that your Florida mechanic’s lien is a creature of statute and the courts will strictly construe your compliance.