(2)(a) All lienors under this section, except laborers, as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien under this chapter and recording a claim of lien, must serve a notice on the owner setting forth the lienor’s name and address, a description sufficient for identification of the real property, and the nature of the services or materials furnished or to be furnished. A sub-subcontractor or a materialman to a subcontractor must serve a copy of the notice on the contractor as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien under this chapter and recording a claim of lien. A materialman to a sub-subcontractor must serve a copy of the notice to owner on the contractor as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien under this chapter and recording a claim of lien. A materialman to a sub-subcontractor shall serve the notice to owner on the subcontractor if the materialman knows the name and address of the subcontractor. The notice must be served before commencing, or not later than 45 days after commencing, to furnish his or her labor, services, or materials, but, in any event, before the date of the owner’s disbursement of the final payment after the contractor has furnished the affidavit under subparagraph (3)(d)1. The notice must be served regardless of the method of payments by the owner, whether proper or improper, and does not give to the lienor serving the notice any priority over other lienors in the same category; and the failure to serve the notice, or to timely serve it, is a complete defense to enforcement of a lien by any person. The serving of the notice does not dispense with recording the claim of lien. The notice is not a lien, cloud, or encumbrance on the real property nor actual or constructive notice of any of them.
(b) If the owner, in his or her notice of commencement, has designated a person in addition to himself or herself to receive a copy of such lienor’s notice, as provided in s. 713.13(1)(b), the lienor shall serve a copy of his or her notice on the person so designated. The failure by the lienor to serve such copy, however, does not invalidate an otherwise valid lien. (c) The notice may be in substantially the following form and must include the information and the warning contained in the following form:
WARNING! FLORIDA’S CONSTRUCTION LIEN LAW ALLOWS SOME UNPAID CONTRACTORS, SUBCONTRACTORS, AND MATERIAL SUPPLIERS TO FILE LIENS AGAINST YOUR PROPERTY EVEN IF YOU HAVE MADE PAYMENT IN FULL.
UNDER FLORIDA LAW, YOUR FAILURE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE PAID MAY RESULT IN A LIEN AGAINST YOUR PROPERTY AND YOUR PAYING TWICE.
TO AVOID A LIEN AND PAYING TWICE, YOU MUST OBTAIN A WRITTEN RELEASE FROM US EVERY TIME YOU PAY YOUR CONTRACTOR.
NOTICE TO OWNER
To (Owner’s name and address)
The undersigned hereby informs you that he or she has furnished or is furnishing services or materials as follows:
(General description of services or materials) for the improvement of the real property identified as (property description) under an order given by .
Florida law prescribes the serving of this notice and restricts your right to make payments under your contract in accordance with Section 713.06, Florida Statutes.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR
Under Florida’s laws, those who work on your property or provide materials and are not paid have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property. This claim is known as a construction lien.
If your contractor fails to pay subcontractors or material suppliers or neglects to make other legally required payments, the people who are owed money may look to your property for payment, EVEN IF YOU HAVE PAID YOUR CONTRACTOR IN FULL.
—RECOGNIZE that this Notice to Owner may result in a lien against your property unless all those supplying a Notice to Owner have been paid.
—LEARN more about the Construction Lien Law, Chapter 713, Part I, Florida Statutes, and the meaning of this notice by contacting an attorney or the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Copies to: (Those persons listed in Section 713.06(2)(a) and (b), Florida Statutes)
The form may be combined with a notice to contractor given under s. 255.05 or s. 713.23 and, if so, may be entitled “NOTICE TO OWNER/NOTICE TO CONTRACTOR.”
(d) A notice to an owner served on a lender must be in writing, must be served in accordance with s. 713.18, and shall be addressed to the persons designated, if any, and to the place and address designated in the notice of commencement. Any lender who, after receiving a notice provided under this subsection, pays a contractor on behalf of the owner for an improvement shall make proper payments as provided in paragraph (3)(c) as to each such notice received by the lender. The failure of a lender to comply with this paragraph renders the lender liable to the owner for all damages sustained by the owner as a result of that failure. This paragraph does not give any person other than an owner a claim or right of action against a lender for the failure of the lender to comply with this paragraph. Further, this paragraph does not prohibit a lender from disbursing construction funds at any time directly to the owner, in which event the lender has no obligation to make proper payments under this paragraph.
(e) A lienor, in the absence of a recorded notice of commencement, may rely on the information contained in the building permit application to serve the notice prescribed in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c).
(f) If a lienor has substantially complied with the provisions of paragraphs (a), (b), and (c), errors or omissions do not prevent the enforcement of a claim against a person who has not been adversely affected by such omission or error. However, a lienor must strictly comply with the time requirements of paragraph (a).
(3) The owner may make proper payments on the direct contract as to lienors under this section, in the following manner: (a) If the description of the property in the notice prescribed by s. 713.13 is incorrect and the error adversely affects any lienor, payments made on the direct contract shall be held improperly paid to that lienor; but this does not apply to clerical errors when the description listed covers the property where the improvements are.
(b) The owner may pay to any laborers the whole or any part of the amounts that shall then be due and payable to them respectively for labor or services performed by them and covered by the direct contract, and shall deduct the same from the balance due the contractor under a direct contract.
(c) When any payment becomes due to the contractor on the direct contract, except the final payment:
1. The owner shall pay or cause to be paid, within the limitations imposed by subparagraph 2., the sum then due to each lienor giving notice prior to the time of the payment. The owner may require, and, in such event, the contractor shall furnish as a prerequisite to requiring payment to himself or herself, an affidavit as prescribed in subparagraph (d)1., on any payment made, or to be made, on a direct contract, but the furnishing of the affidavit shall not relieve the owner of his or her responsibility to pay or cause to be paid all lienors giving notice. The owner shall be under no obligation to any lienor, except laborers, from whom he or she has not received a notice to owner at the time of making a payment.
2. When the payment due is insufficient to pay all bills of lienors giving notice, the owner shall prorate the amount then due under the direct contract among the lienors giving notice pro rata in the manner prescribed in subsection (4). Lienors receiving money shall execute partial releases, as provided in s. 713.20(2), to the extent of the payment received.
3. If any affidavit permitted hereunder recites any outstanding bills for labor, services, or materials, the owner may pay the bills in full direct to the person or firm to which they are due if the balance due on the direct contract at the time the affidavit is given is sufficient to pay the bills and shall deduct the amounts so paid from the balance of payment due the contractor. This subparagraph shall not create any obligation of the owner to pay any person who is not a lienor giving notice.
4. No person furnishing labor or material, or both, who is required to serve a notice under paragraph (2)(a) and who did not serve the notice and whose time for service has expired shall be entitled to be paid by the owner because he or she is listed in an affidavit furnished by the contractor under subparagraph (c)1.
5. If the contract is terminated before completion, the contractor shall comply with subparagraph (d)1.
(d) When the final payment under a direct contract becomes due the contractor: 1. The contractor shall give to the owner a final payment affidavit stating, if that be the fact, that all lienors under his or her direct contract who have timely served a notice to owner on the owner and the contractor have been paid in full or, if the fact be otherwise, showing the name of each such lienor who has not been paid in full and the amount due or to become due each for labor, services, or materials furnished. The affidavit must be in substantially the following form:
CONTRACTOR’S FINAL PAYMENT AFFIDAVIT
State of Florida
Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared (name of affiant) , who, after being first duly sworn, deposes and says of his or her personal knowledge the following:
1. He or she is the (title of affiant) , of (name of contractor’s business) , which does business in the State of Florida, hereinafter referred to as the “Contractor.”
2. Contractor, pursuant to a contract with (name of owner) , hereinafter referred to as the “Owner,” has furnished or caused to be furnished labor, materials, and services for the construction of certain improvements to real property as more particularly set forth in said contract.
3. This affidavit is executed by the Contractor in accordance with section 713.06 of the Florida Statutes for the purposes of obtaining final payment from the Owner in the amount of $ .
4. All work to be performed under the contract has been fully completed, and all lienors under the direct contract have been paid in full, except the following listed lienors:
NAME OF LIENOR AMOUNT DUE
Signed, sealed, and delivered this day of , ,
By (name of affiant)
(title of affiant)
(name of contractor’s business)
Sworn to and subscribed before me this day of by (name of affiant) , who is personally known to me or produced as identification, and did take an oath.
(name of notary public)
My Commission Expires:
(date of expiration of commission)
The contractor shall have no lien or right of action against the owner for labor, services, or materials furnished under the direct contract while in default for not giving the owner the affidavit; however, the negligent inclusion or omission of any information in the affidavit which has not prejudiced the owner does not constitute a default that operates to defeat an otherwise valid lien. The contractor shall execute the affidavit and deliver it to the owner at least 5 days before instituting an action as a prerequisite to the institution of any action to enforce his or her lien under this chapter, even if the final payment has not become due because the contract is terminated for a reason other than completion and regardless of whether the contractor has any lienors working under him or her or not.
2. If the contractor’s affidavit required in this subsection recites any outstanding bills for labor, services, or materials, the owner may, after giving the contractor at least 10 days’ written notice, pay such bills in full direct to the person or firm to which they are due, if the balance due on a direct contract at the time the affidavit is given is sufficient to pay them and lienors giving notice, and shall deduct the amounts so paid from the balance due the contractor. Lienors listed in said affidavit not giving notice, whose 45-day notice time has not expired, shall be paid in full or pro rata, as appropriate, from any balance then remaining due the contractor; but no lienor whose notice time has expired shall be paid by the owner or by any other person except the person with whom that lienor has a contract.
3. If the balance due is not sufficient to pay in full all lienors listed in the affidavit and entitled to payment from the owner under this part and other lienors giving notice, the owner shall pay no money to anyone until such time as the contractor has furnished him or her with the difference; however, if the contractor fails to furnish the difference within 10 days from delivery of the affidavit or notice from the owner to the contractor to furnish the affidavit, the owner shall determine the amount due each lienor and shall disburse to them the amounts due from him or her on a direct contract in accordance with the procedure established by subsection (4).
4. The owner shall have the right to rely on the contractor’s affidavit given under this paragraph in making the final payment, unless there are lienors giving notice who are not listed in the affidavit. If there are lienors giving notice who are not so listed, the owner may pay such lienors and any persons listed in the affidavit that are entitled to be paid by the owner under subparagraph 2. and shall thereupon be discharged of any further responsibility under the direct contract, except for any balance that may be due to the contractor.
5. The owner shall retain the final payment due under the direct contract that shall not be disbursed until the contractor’s affidavit under subparagraph 1. has been furnished to the owner.
6. When final payment has become due to the contractor and the owner fails to withhold as required by subparagraph 5., the property improved shall be subject to the full amount of all valid liens of which the owner has notice at the time the contractor furnishes his or her affidavit.
(e) If the improvement is abandoned before completion, the owner shall determine the amount due each lienor giving notice and shall pay the same in full or prorate in the same manner as provided in subsection (4).
(f) No contractor shall have any right to require the owner to pay any money to him or her under a direct contract if such money cannot be properly paid by the owner to the contractor in accordance with this section.
(g) Except with written consent of the contractor, before paying any money directly to any lienor except the contractor or any laborer, the owner shall give the contractor at least 10 days’ written notice of his or her intention to do so, and the amount he or she proposes to pay each lienor.
(h) When the owner has properly retained all sums required in this section to be retained but has otherwise made improper payments, the owner’s real property shall be liable to all laborers, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and materialmen complying with this chapter only to the extent of the retentions and the improper payments, notwithstanding the other provisions of this subsection. Any money paid by the owner on a direct contract, the payment of which is proved to have caused no detriment to any certain lienor, shall be held properly paid as to the lienor, and if any of the money shall be held not properly paid as to any other lienors, the entire benefit of its being held not properly paid as to them shall go to the lienors.
(4)(a) In determining the amounts for which liens between lienors claiming under a direct contract shall be paid by the owner or allowed by the court within the total amount fixed by the direct contract and under the provisions of this section, the owner or court shall pay or allow such liens in the following order:
1. Liens of all laborers.
2. Liens of all persons other than the contractor.
3. Lien of the contractor.
(b) Should the total amount for which liens under such direct contract may be allowed be less than the total amount of liens under such contract in all classes above mentioned, all liens in a class shall be allowed for their full amounts before any liens shall be allowed to any subsequent class. Should the amount applicable to the liens of any single class be insufficient to permit all liens within that class to be allowed for their full amounts, each lien shall be allowed for its pro rata share of the total amount applicable to liens of that class; but if the same labor, services, or materials shall be covered by liens of more than one class, such labor, services, or materials shall be allowed only in the earliest class by which they shall be covered; and also if the same labor, services, or materials shall be covered by liens of two or more lienors of the same class, such labor, services, or materials shall be allowed only in the lien of the lienor farthest removed from the contractor. This section shall not be construed to affect the priority of liens derived under separate direct contracts.