How to Get Paid for Construction: Advice from a Miami Construction Lawyer
Are you owed money on a construction project? Find out how to get paid from a Miami Construction Attorney.
So you have done the work but have not been paid. What do you do now? There are four primary avenues of recovery to get paid, namely:
- Enforcing Your Construction Contract
- Filing a Florida Construction Lien and Foreclosing on it
- Asserting a Payment Bond Claim and Suing the Surety
- Taking Action Now to Get Paid
Enforcing Your Construction Contract
Whether you have an oral or written contract, preferably written, the party that hired you may be ultimately liable for payment. First, ensure that the debtor has all of the bills or payment applications you claim are due, including the most recent that may include your retainage, claims, delays and the like.
Next, you need to contact the debtor. Do it verbally and in writing, nicely and firmly but do it, and do the best you can to get the customer to start paying you. Once you get a hold of them, if possible, resolve any disputes as to the goods or services immediately and in writing. Additionally, avoid emotional decision making.
Finally, once you determine that there's nothing more you can do yourself, don't wait to enforce your legal rights. Contact a Florida Bar board certified construction lawyer right away.
Filing a Florida Construction Lien and Foreclosing on it
If you furnished labor or materials to a private construction project, the owner may be liable to you for the debt. In Florida, those that furnish labor or materials for the demolition, design, construction or improvement of private construction projects are generally entitled to a construction or mechanics lien on the owner's property.
Of all the ways to secure your right to be paid, a Florida construction lien is one of the best. If a lienor remains unpaid, the property may be sold at public auction and, subject to any defenses of the owner and any prior liens on the property, the lienor should be paid.
No later than 45 days from your first work on the property, the owner, and possibly the contractor, must receive your Notice to Owner by certified mail. This Notice to Owner ("NTO") must be sent even if you are not owed any money at the time.
Next within 90 days of your last work on the project, you must record a Claim of Lien. The Lien must be recorded in the county where the property is located. Within 15 days of recording the Claim of Lien, you must serve a copy of it on the owner and contractor.
If you have a contract with the owner, then the next step to perfect your lien rights is by serving the owner with a Contractor's Final Affidavit. The Contractor's Final Affidavit must be served via certified mail at least 5 days before you file suit to foreclose on the construction lien.
Finally, no later than one year from the recording date of the Claim of Lien, you must file a foreclosure lawsuit in civil court. Don't wait to enforce your legal rights. Contact a Florida Bar board certified construction lawyer right away before your lien rights expire.
Asserting a Payment Bond Claim and Suing the Surety
If you furnished labor or materials to a construction project in which the contractor issued an unconditional payment bond, that surety bond exists to secure your debt. In Florida, those that furnish labor or materials for the demolition, construction or improvement of bonded construction projects are generally entitled to seek recovery from the contractor's payment bond.
No later than 45 days from your first work on the property, the contractor and the payment bond surety must receive your Notice to Contractor by certified mail. This Notice to Contractor must be sent even if you are not owed any money at the time.
Next within 90 days of your last work on the project, you must serve your Notice of Nonpayment via certified mail.
Finally, no later than one year from your last work on the property, you must file a lawsuit against the payment bond surety in civil court. Don't wait to enforce your legal rights. Contact a board certified construction lawyer right away before your bond rights expire.
Taking Action to Get Paid
My name is Alex Barthet of The Barthet Firm. If you're ready to take action and want to get paid, then give me a call at 305-347-5295.