When can a contractor file Florida mechanic’s lien against a landlord’s interest?
One of the gray areas of mechanic’s lien law is when, and under what circumstances, can the contractor record a Florida mechanics lien against an owner’s interest if there is tenant improvement work. In other words, if your contract is directly with the tenant and not the owner. Different states look at it in various ways depending upon the concepts of knowledge and or consent.
With some states, for example Illinois, if the landlord has knowledge of the improvement, it will be subject to the lien. But other states, such as Florida go one step further. The owner or landlord must consent to the improvement. In other words, not just know about it, but take some affirmative action to authorize or agree to have the work done.
As to a Florida mechanics lien, a it only attaches to the interest of the owner if the improvement is made in accordance with the agreement between the landlord and tenant. To make this determination, it is important to understanding the exact language of the lease. A lien is not imposed simply because it is contemplated under the lease, done with the knowledge of the landlord, or benefits the property. The lease provisions must go one step further, namely require or call for the improvement to be made.
There is even further protection for a landlord in Florida. The landlord may record the lease, a short summary of the lease, or an ant-lien provision with the county clerk’s office. In the last analysis, it is a question of fact to be determined by the court or arbitrator.