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Deadlines For Filing A Preliminary Notice In Florida

When you're a contractor working on a construction project in Florida, you're required to send a Notice To Owner to keep your mechanics lien rights intact to protect against any form of non-payment. This notice will identify your company, the person who hired you, the work and materials being provided, and a description of the job you're doing. To maintain your rights, you must prepare this written notice, deliver it by the deadline, and require proof of delivery. The specifics of the letter may change depending on who is writing them ‐ whether it's the subcontractor, general contractor, supplier, or anyone else.

The Chain of Command

A working construction project in Florida has a specific payment chain that all parties must follow when filing for payment or anything else of relevance. It's also important to note that any information flowing back up the chain must maintain the same path and include all of the important steps. Otherwise, all notices could be null and void. The chain is set up in the following manner (this is when filing preliminary notices for demand for payment):

  1. 1. The supplier is at the lowest rung of the chain. This is the individual who supplies the materials to every working arm of the project.
  2. 2. Above the supplier is the sub-subcontractor. The sub-sub is a subcategory of the subcontractor. They would be a specialist in a particular industry or niche. For example, a subcontractor would be a flooring contractor. The sub-subcontractor would be a specific type of floor specialist such as hardwood or carpet.
  3. 3. Above that is the subcontractor, which is broken down by electrician, floor installer, and more specific categories.
  4. 4. Above this step is the general contractor who oversees the whole project.
  5. 5. Above that is the owner of the property
  6. 6. The final link in the chain is the lender or bank that's financing the project.

Length of Time

Regardless of who is sending the preliminary notice, the rules for the length of time are always the same. Florida requires that any NTO be sent within 45 days of the first day on a project or before the project began if the person in question was there from the start. The most important part of the entire process is what Florida courts call the first furnishing. Regardless, the clock stops ticking after the 45th day. The notice must be served within 45 days from:

  • 1. First furnishing services or materials.
  • 2. When work begins on making specialty materials.
  • 3. Before the owner's disbursement of the final payment to the prime contractor.

It's important that the notice is sent to everyone along the chain until it reaches the owner. The notice must be served to each person above the individual who sends it. Additionally, each must receive a certified copy with proof of receipt.The party sending it must keep a copy, along with the date of furnishing. These are the most critical steps to remember during the notice process in Florida. If you're unsure of a step or have any questions regarding the process, you should obtain the services of a company that can assist with the notice process and other construction laws.

The experienced staff at Nationwide Notice, Inc. will assist you in submitting and tracking the correct legal documents required by your state to protect your lien rights which is a valuable tool that aids with your receivables. Nationwide Notice, Inc. can partner with construction companies of all sizes, strive to work with your contractors and sub-contractors by using existing lien laws as leverage to ensure payment, as well as secure their lien rights to get the money they deserve. You can learn more about all the services we provide on page or find out more about what makes us different here.

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