Construction lien waivers are legal documents that are typically used in construction projects to release the right to file a construction lien against a property in exchange for payment or other considerations. In Florida, any party to a construction contract can waive lien rights for services, materials, and labor. A contractor may agree to sign a lien waiver to keep the project moving.
Lien waivers are intended to protect the interests of all parties to a contract in a construction project, but issues are common. Any time a party to a contract gives something up, they must assume a greater level of risk. In some cases, the entire waiver could become invalid and unenforceable.
That being said, lien waivers are a reality of just about every Florida construction project. As such, it is critical to protect your rights and best interests by consulting with an experienced Florida liens lawyer before signing any type of lien waiver.
Types of Construction Lien Waivers
In Florida, there are two primary types of construction lien waivers:
Partial Waiver and Release of Lien: This type of waiver is used when a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier receives a partial payment for work done on a construction project. By signing this document, the contractor, subcontractor, or supplier agrees to waive and release their right to file a lien against the property for the amount of the payment received.
Final Waiver and Release of Lien: This type of waiver is used when a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier receives full payment for work done on a construction project. By signing this document, the contractor, subcontractor, or supplier agrees to waive and release their right to file a lien against the property for the full amount owed.
Construction lien waivers must comply with specific requirements outlined in Florida’s lien laws to be valid and enforceable. Additionally, suppose a construction lien waiver is signed, and payment is not received. In that case, the waiver may not be enforceable, and the contractor, subcontractor, or supplier may still have the right to file a lien against the property. If you are a stakeholder in a construction project, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel from the start.
Protections Offered by Construction Lien Waivers
At their best, lien waivers can be useful in preventing disputes and ensuring timely payment. They can effectively protect all parties to the construction project, including:
- The owner or developer who wants to avoid a lien against the property;
- The lender who authorizes payment after receiving the lien waiver;
- The general contractors who wish to protect their legal rights; and
- The subcontractor that receives payment once the lien waiver is delivered.
Problems that May Arise with Construction Lien Waivers
However, lien waivers can present myriad problems for all of their benefits, especially without legal counsel. Some common issues that may arise include:
Ambiguity in the language: If the language in the waiver is unclear or vague, it can lead to disputes down the line. For example, if the waiver only covers a specific payment but not all payments owed, it can create confusion about the scope of the waiver.
Incomplete or inaccurate information: If the waiver is not properly completed or includes inaccurate information, it can invalidate the waiver. If, for instance, the waiver does not specify the correct payment amount, it may not be enforceable.
Timing issues: If the waiver is signed before the work is completed or before payment is received, it may not be effective. Contractors and suppliers should only sign waivers once they have received payment and are sure that they will not file a lien.
Fraudulent waivers: Unfortunately, some property owners or contractors may attempt to obtain fraudulent waivers by coercing contractors to sign them or altering the documents after they have been signed. This can lead to legal challenges and disputes.
Lien waivers can be useful in preventing disputes and ensuring timely payment, but it is critical to be careful when drafting, executing, and enforcing them. An experienced Miami construction liens attorney can help you protect your rights and best interests.
Construction is Booming in Miami
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the construction industry worldwide, including in Miami. However, the industry has continued to show resilience and adapt to the new challenges posed by the pandemic. Today, construction is booming in Miami. Consider the following statistics:
- Miami is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, with a population of over 463,000 people as of 2021.
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the value of new private construction in Miami in 2019 was approximately $4.8 billion.
- According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the construction industry significantly contributes to the Miami economy, employing approximately 83,000 workers in 2019.
- In recent years, Miami has seen a surge in the construction of high-rise buildings, with many luxury condominiums being built in the downtown area and along the waterfront.
At Bennett Legal Group, we believe that the construction industry adds immense value to Florida’s economy. As such, we work tirelessly to protect the interests of individuals, small business owners, and corporations engaged in the construction industry.
Contact a Florida Construction Liens Attorney Today
Whether you are an owner, developer, architecture firm, subcontractor, or general contractor, the skilled team at Bennett Legal Group can ensure that the construction lien waiver is drafted and executed to protect your rights, best interests, and wallet. Our experienced construction lawyers are intimately familiar with Florida construction laws and skilled in applying these laws to our client’s unique needs, goals, and objectives. Bennett Legal Group routinely works with clients across Florida, and we have an impressive track record of promptly obtaining the results our clients want. Contact one of our Florida construction liens lawyers today to learn more.