A daughter and Mother live in the home, it is owned by the trustee Mother for the family. The daughter gave me the check for services. They are both ignoring my attempts to communicate with them! I have a month of texts where the daughter is very pleased with everything we did but came up with lies ( I discovered) as to ways of putting off payment. Then she gives me a bad check! I have turned it over to the State Attorney, I am would like to put a lien and also turn it over to a collection agency.
It's easier to send the 30 day notices under s. 68.065 F.S. and then file suit to try and claim the face value of the check, three times the face value, the service fee (if applicable), the bank fee (if applicable), costs, and attorney's fees from her. But yes, I believe (and a construction attorney may be able to better advise here) that gardening is included in construction liens. Good luck.
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I agree that the treble damages approach is likely your best shot. You cannot, however, enforce a lien for maintenence.
Landscape maintenance services are not as I recall considered a "work of improvement" under the mechanic's lien statutes in California. Sometimes filing a lien will prompt an owner to pay regardless of whether the lien is technically perfectable or not, but either small claims court or the suggestion of the first attorney that answered this question makes more sense. Also, there are costs to both record the lien and also record a release of lien once you are paid so that is another down side to filing the lien over a small amount of money and you should not file it if it is not a valid lien. Good luck!
The answer to your question may depend on what type of 'gardening services' were provided - were they improvements or were they maintenance and upkeep? In other words, did the 'gardening services' provide a permanent benefit to the real estate subject to a potential construction lien? Take a look at Fla. Stat. 713.01 'Definitions', and subsection (14) in particular. It provides, in relevant part:
“Improve” means . . . ;or perform any labor or services or furnish any materials in grading, seeding, sodding, or planting for landscaping purposes, including the furnishing of trees, shrubs, bushes, or plants that are planted on the real property.
Depending on the nature of the services you provided, you may find that some 'items' of your gardening services are lienable, whereas others are not. Fla. case law analyzing what type of landscaping services are lienable under Ch. 713 --- and which types are not --- may provide guidance. Consider consulting an attorney familiar with Fla.'s construction lien law.
In any event, please bear in mind that even if services performed are determined to not be lienable under Fla.'s Construction Lien Law, it may not necessarily mean that you cannot recover for them. See Fla. Stat. 713.30 'Other actions not barred.'
Additionally, considerations of who owns the real estate, who you contracted with, and who made payment and in what capacity may require careful legal analysis.
This reply is provided for information purposes only and does not represent legal advice or an attorney-client relationship.
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