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.
One of the FREE services we offer our clients is to research a property to see if there are any liens attached BEFORE they go to contract to work on the job. If you are considering beginning to work on a project and want to know if the property is currently liened, call us so we can check the public records to see if there are outstanding liens on the property. We recently had a client from Miami call us to request lien forms for a job where they had not been paid. When we looked up the property address, we found that there are four current liens on the property from contractors and subcontractors, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 each. If they had called us BEFORE they started the project, they may have decided to not get involved in the project at all. They are currently owed just under $27,000 and have to go through the hassle of liening the property themselves.You have the right to know the payment history of the customers that hire you. And don’t forget – if you are working as a subcontractor, send a Notice to Owner within 45 days of your first day on the project to ensure your lien rights.
Call us at (407)399-8997 or write to us at Info@thenoticezone.com
The time limit for serving a Notice to Owner is 45 days from your FIRST day on the job. This time limit is the number one stumbling block for subcontractors – they wait too long to send their NTO, and they lose their right to lien. The Notice Zone can help with that strict time limit.
Notices to Owner are sent using USPS Certified Return Receipt mail, which means that the postal carrier will not deliver it unless there is someone available to sign for it. If no one is available, the postal carrier will leave a notice to let the recipient know that they have a mailing waiting for them. This type of situation can seriously delay delivery of your notice! But did you know that the Florida statute provides protection from your notice languishing in the post office, waiting to be picked up, while your time limit for serving your notice winds down? The statute states that if the Notice to Owner is sent using Certified Mail and the person (or company) who sends it uses a Certified Mail Log, the Notice to Owner is considered DELIVERED UPON MAILING, as long as it is mailed WITHIN 40 DAYS of your first day on the job. At The Notice Zone, we only mail using Certified Mail Logs that are date stamped and signed by the postal worker accepting our mailings. You have the extra peace of mind that your lien rights will be preserved no matter when the mailing actually gets delivered! Even if the mailing doesn’t reach its destination due to lost mail or refusal of delivery by your recipient, THE NOTICE TO OWNER IS CONSIDERED DELIVERED THE DAY WE MAIL IT, so your Notice to Owner time limit requirement is easier to fulfill.
Make sure you get your Notice to Owner request to us within 35 days of the job start so you can be sure that your mailing can take advantage of the provisions in the statute. Fill out our online NTO Request form by clicking here, or print our form to fax or email to us by clicking here. Questions? Call us at 407-399-8997. Protect your lien rights so you can get paid!
You can’t lien public property. Period. So what do you do when you are hired to work on an airport, park, school, courthouse or other type of public property? How do you protect your right to be paid for the work you do? Instead of sending a Notice to Owner (NTO), you send a Notice to Contractor. The Notice to Contractor tells the General Contractor on the project that in the event that you are not paid, you will look to the Bond to be paid. (A bond is similar to an insurance policy for a specific project. Florida Statutes Section 255.05(1)(a) states that a contractor on a pubic project must record a payment bond in the public records of the county where the project is located PRIOR to commencing work. This requirement is for state projects of $100,000.00 or more, or county, city or public authority projects of $200,000.00 or more.) The time frame for sending a Notice to Contractor is 45 days from your FIRST day of work, the same as the time limit for sending a Notice to Owner (NTO). Learn more about The Notice Zone’s Notice to Contractor service by clicking here. Have questions? Fee free to call us at (407)399-8997.
What do you do if you send your Notice to Contractor and you don’t get paid on a job? Check our next blog for the answer, or click here to learn about the Notice of Nonpayment process.
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!