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Can a sub-subcontractor demand payment from the owner/contractor w/out a Notice to Owner or Lien filed?

Jacksonville, FL |
Filed under: Construction law

A sub-subcontractor is filing a claim against us for non-payment by our sub-contractor. A Notice to Owner was not filed nor was a lien filed at all. We were not aware of this contractor until we received a demand notice 137 days after final payment to subcontractor. We do not have a release of lien, unfortunately, but we do have a receipt (issued to us from subcontractor) from sub-subcontractor with Payment in Full and date. We also have a contract with the sub contractor stating all workers work directly under subcontractor and subcontractor is responsible for paying all wages, taxes and other expenses. This is an electrician and no permits were pulled either. Sub Contractor states he paid sub subcontractor in cash.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Under your facts the sub-sub has no valid claim of lien against owner. Call if you have any questions. This looks like an easy one.

    This is not legal advice. Think of this as what you would recieve from a wise uncle. And remember, you have never believed everything your uncle told you either. With free advice you generally get what you pay for.

  2. Based on the facts you lay out, you as General Contractor or Owner have several defenses to a claim for payment or a lien from a sub-subcontractor. First, such a lienor who is not in privity with the owner must file a Notice to Owner within the first 45 days of their work - this is intended to put you on notice they are on the job. Second, any lienor must file their lien no later than 90 days after their last work on the job/project. It appears more than that has gone by and you have not seen a filed lien claim. You also mention this sub-subcontactor may have provided a receipt for payment (Full payment?) which may not be a signed a written lien waiver, but it could be the next best thing. Although a sub-subcontractor can always ask / demand it be paid for its work, it appears the GC and/or owner followed the proper payment procedure in this case, and have valid, legal defenses to the claim / lien by the sub-subcontractor.

  3. As a general rule, a sub lacks privity of contract with a landowner and therefore cannot sue directly.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

  4. Sounds like an untimely and unenforceable demand. If a "Claim of Lien" is recorded by the sub-subcontractor, hire a lawyer to respond.

    This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed. You may call me 772-562-4570; email me, or visit my website

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