Who is required to serve a Pre-Lien Notice in Florida?
Any many of our clients are aware, it is typical for a state to require a pre-lien notice well before the actual recording of the mechanic’s lien. So for example, in Florida, this state requires a Notice be sent near the beginning of the project. This pre-lien notice is called a “Notice to Owner or Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor”.
Who is required to serve this notice? In general terms, all contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material/equipment suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the owner or the owner’s agent. For example, a general contractor with a direct verbal or written contract with the owner who acts as the prime is not required to give the Notice. Thus, it is common for suppliers of material and equipment, subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors to serve this notice. Laborers and design professionals are not required to serve the pre-lien notice.
Remember, it is not your license status but who you have your contract with that determines who is required to serve a notice. So, for example, a roofing subcontractor who has a direct contract, either verbally or in writing, with the owner, is considered a general for purposes of the mechanic’s lien law and does not have to serve the pre-lien notice. Alternatively, a G. C. who has a contract for framing and is working directly with another prime contractor, would be considered a sub for mechanic’s lien purposes.
When does the notice have to be served? Within 45 days of your first furnishing labor or materials to the project.