Florida’s Construction Lien Laws: A Party’s Right to Information – Statement of Subcontractors
In this segment of Florida’s Construction Lien Laws, we discuss the property owner’s statutory right to request and the requirement to provide a statement of subcontractors and suppliers. A property owner has an interest in knowing which subcontractors and suppliers are being used by their contractors for improvements to their property, specifically, who may assert a claim of lien against their property. A property owner has the right to receive notice regarding the subcontractors participating in the improvement to their real property, regardless of the scope of service or goods supplied.
a. Owner’s Request for a List Subcontractors
Pursuant to Florida Statute, §713.165(1) an “owner of real property may request from the contractor a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who have any contract with the contractor to furnish any material or to perform any service for the contractor with respect to the owner’s real property or improvement to the real property.” (emphasis added). To properly request this information, the property owner’s request for a statement of subcontractors must be (1) in writing, and (2) delivered by registered or certified mail to either (a) the contractor’s address as stated in the contract, or (b) the contractor’s address as recorded within the Notice of Commencement.
b. Contractor’s Response to a Request for a Statement of Subcontractors
Following the receipt of the property owner’s written request, the contractor must “within 10 days…furnish to the property owner or the property owner’s agent a list of the subcontractors and suppliers who have a contract with the contractor as of the date the request is received by the contractor.” Fla. Stat. §713.165(2). The contractor’s timely response to a property owner’s request for a statement of subcontractors is imperative to the contractor’s ability to maintain its lien rights relating to the owner’s property. Specifically, the contractor’s failure to comply with the request may result in a forfeiture of the contractor’s lien right. Id. Per Florida Statute, §713.165(2) the contractor will forfeit their right to lien assertion to “the extent the owner is prejudiced by the contractor’s failure to furnish the list or by any omissions from the list.”
c. Statement is Ineffective Notice
It is important to note that furnishing a Statement of Subcontractors will not and cannot substitute a proper Notice to Owner. Fla. Stat. §713.165(3). As discussed in previous segments, to assert a lien against the owner’s real property a claim of lien must be filed within 90 days of the last date of provided labor, services, or materials. Fla. Stat. §713.08. Per Florida Statute, §713.08 the claim of lien must include (1) the name and address of lienor; (2) the labor, services, and materials that were furnished and the subsequent contract price or the value of what was provided; (3) the name of the owner of the real property; (4) a description of the real property; (5) first and last date of provided labor, services, and materials; and (5) the amount unpaid. Regarding the aforementioned Statement of Subcontractors, a sub-contractor or supplier, not in privity with the property owner, must serve the owner with notice in substantially similar form as outlined in Florida Statute, §713.06. The contractor’s response to the property owner’s request for a statement of subcontractors and suppliers is ineffective notice for these purposes.
*Please see prior blogs in this series titled: Florida’s Construction Lien Laws: Notice to Owner – The Who, What, and When and Florida’s Construction Lien Laws: The Claim of Lien for more information regarding notice and filing the Claim of Lien.