Do you have to mail your Florida NTO with your fingers crossed?
The 45-day time limit for delivering your Florida Notice to Owner (Florida NTO) is an issue that we talk and write about A LOT – our frequent blog posts (read about it here and here) and our website (go to that page here) cover the subject in detail. Florida NTOs must be delivered to the required parties within 45 calendar days from your first day on the job (weekends and holidays are included, unless the 45th day lands on a Sunday or holiday, where they give you until the next business day for delivery). Typically, Florida NTOs are sent via USPS Certified Return Receipt Mail to the property owner and any other parties that need to be informed of your work on the project. USPS Certified Return Receipt mail requires the recipient to sign for the mail when the postal worker delivers it. However, what happens if your NTO arrives at its destination within 45 days of your first day of the job as required, but the party that you mailed it to isn’t available to sign for the mailing? What happens if the delivery address is to a PO box and the mail doesn’t get picked up for over a week, pushing you past your delivery deadline? What happens if the party you send it to is no longer at that address? What happens if the party you send it to never picks up the mailing at all, so the mail gets returned to you? What happens if it gets lost in the mail? We will cover all of these Florida NTO delivery problems in our new blog series – stay tuned! Each week this month, we will write about a scenario in which you send your notice but the delivery does not go smoothly, and we will explain how your lien rights are affected. Have a question that needs to be answered right away? Call us at (407)399-8997 – we are always happy to help and explain how you can avoid Florida NTO delivery problems!
The NTO clock is ticking from the first minute you set foot on the job…
We receive calls weekly (sometimes daily) from subcontractors who have let the 45-day time limit for serving their NTO on a project pass, only to realize that they are having a difficult time getting paid on a job. It is always awful to hear that they started work months ago and didn’t think of sending an NTO until it is time to get paid. Florida law does not budge on the time limit for sending your NTO – if you do not serve it within 45 days of your FIRST DAY on the job, you forfeit your right to lien the property you worked on in the case that you don’t get paid in full. The Florida NTO TIme Limit does not have a grace period – 45 days is it. We encourage you to send an NTO on any project valued at $2500 or more when you work as a subcontractor, as that is the minimum amount that you can lien for as a subcontractor under Florida law. This Florida NTO time limit also applies to public and private bonded jobs – you have 45 day from your FIRST day of work to send your Notice to Contractor, or your forfeit your right to make a claim against the bond in the event you don’t get paid/paid in full. Do you need to calculate how far you are into your 45-day time limit? Use our NTO and Lien Date Calculator by clicking here: Free Florida NTO and Lien Date Calculator
Please feel free to call us to discuss your situation at (407)399-8997. The cost of a Notice to Owner is a small price to pay for peace of mind while working on a job, knowing that you have secured your lien rights.
Subcontractors often look to hire a Florida NTO (Notice to Owner) service in order to save time, to be assured that their notices are written and served correctly, and to protect their lien rights. It is so important, especially now in the construction industry, that subcontractors mind the strict time limits set forth in the Florida statutes to protect their lien rights. Serving timely notices (NTOs) is the only way to secure your lien rights so you can get paid for materials supplied and/or work performed.
The Florida Notice to Owner document makes it clear to the property owner that they are required to pay for the materials supplied and or services performed. The language of the Florida NTO warns the property owner that they are responsible for making sure that the subcontractor sending the NTO is paid. As required by Florida law, the Florida NTO informs the owner that even if they pay the general contractor in full, if the general contractor does not pay the subcontractor, the owner may have to pay the subcontractor or risk having their property liened. In essence, the property owner would have to pay for work performed or materials supplied twice in the event that the subcontractor that sent the NTO does not get paid. This is a very strong stimulus for the owner to be sure that the subcontractors are getting paid, and is very effective in preventing the general contractor from withholding payments to subs.
The Notice Zone receives calls almost daily from subcontractors who have waited too long to get paid – they are past the 45 day time limit to serve their NTO upon the property owner. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAID ON A PROJECT TO SERVE AN NTO!!! An NTO is not a collection notice – it is a form required by Florida law when you work as a subcontractor. Do not worry about offending a general contractor by sending an NTO. It is a standard part of the industry and any reputable general contractor is not put off by their subs following the construction laws.
Send an NTO on every project you begin in Florida, right when you begin, and you can have peace of mind that if you don’t get paid, you can lien the property you worked upon (or make a claim on the bond for bonded projects). Call us today at (407)399-8997 to learn more.
Construction laws vary from state to state; some states require that before you lien a property, you serve the owner of the property an “Intention to Lien” form to warn them. Florida DOES NOT require you to serve such notice; if you worked directly for the owner of the property that you worked on (or if you worked as a subcontractor or material supplier and sent your Notice to Owner within 45 days of your first day on the job), you are able to file a lien on a property for the moneys owed to you without warning the owner. However, you can serve an Intent to Lien warning upon the owner in the hope that just learning that you are ready to file a lien will prompt payment, without the hassle and expense of actually filing the lien.
The Notice Zone can write and serve your Intention to Lien form in the event you do not get paid on a project. Remember, you have ninety days from your last day on the job (real work, not punch out work) to file a lien. We send the Intent to Lien forms via USPS Certified Return Receipt mail, so the property owner has to sign for the mailing and you know exactly when they received it. Just like our Notices to Owner, we research the property and project and we include all pertinent information on the Intent to Lien, such as property description, Notice of Commencement filing information, total money owed to you (we include a copy of your invoice) and more to demonstrate that you are ready to file the lien if needed.
Don’t wait until you are a week away from losing your lien rights! It is only $30.00 for us to research, write and serve the Intent to Lien, plus a $5.49 USPS Certified Return Receipt charge, for a total of $35.49. Our clients have had good success in getting paid when this form is served in a timely manner.
Call us today at (407)399-8997 if you are interested in trying our service!