Earlier this month, House Bill 331 was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. House Bill 331 revises several provisions of Florida's Construction Lien Law, which is codified in Chapter 713, Part I of the Florida Statutes. Becoming familiar with these changes is crucial as they are set to take effect on October 1, 2023.
New Section 713.011, Fla. Stat.
Starting with the newly created Section 713.011, Fla. Stat., we are provided with much needed clarity on computing deadlines in Part I of Chapter 713. Specifically, if the last day of the time period is a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or “any day observed as a holiday by the clerk’s office or designated as such by the chief judge of the circuit, the time period is extended to the end of the next business day.” For an emergency that would require the clerk’s office to close in response to such emergency, time periods for recording are tolled “by the number of days the clerk’s office was closed.”
Serving Claim of Liens
As for service of the claim of lien, Section 713.18, Fla. Stat., will be updated to allow service by:
- hand delivery to the person being served, if a partnership, to one partner, if a corporation, to an officer or director, or if a limited liability company, to a member or manager (or other registered agent);
- common carrier delivery service or by registered, Global Express Guaranteed, or certified mail, to the person being served with postage or shipping paid by the sender and with evidence of delivery; or
- posting on the construction site if service cannot be performed by the other two methods.
Notice of Terminations
Changes are also seen in the Section 713.132, Fla. Stat., relating to recording and serving notice of terminations (“NOT”). The NOT will require a statement from the owner that it will “serve a copy of the notice of termination on each lienor who timely serves a notice to owner after the notice of termination has been recorded.”
The effectiveness of a NOT also significantly changes from the current structure as a result of the list of lienor that must be served. Currently, an NOT is effective to terminate a notice of commencement 30 days after recording of the NOT or the date stated in the notice of termination, whichever is later. This language is completely removed from the statute and is now tied to serving the lienors referenced in the statute. Once the lienors are served in accordance with the new requirements, then the notice of termination is effective as to such lienors 30 days after such service.
Aside from the introduction of Section 713.011 and changes to Section 713.18 and 713.132, Fla. Stat., other notable changes include, but are not limited to:
- Allowing licensed general or building contractors providing construction or program management services to lien for such services;
- Authorizing a person intending to make a claim against a payment bond to serve the surety with a copy of the notice of nonpayment, as opposed to an original document;
- Increases to the amount of the bond required to be deposited or filed with the clerk’s office to transfer a lien to a security, calculated by taking the amount demanded in the lien, plus interest at the legal rate for three years, plus $5,000 or 25 percent of the amount demanded in the lien, whichever is greater;
The foregoing changes are just a small sample of what’s to come for Florida’s Construction Lien Law. While these modifications may be difficult to navigate, our team can help you prepare and proactively implement procedures before October. For those of you who are interested in reviewing all of the changes to come, a full redlined version can be found on the Florida Senate’s website.
About Jacqueline Feliciano: Adams and Reese attorney Jacqueline Feliciano, resident in the firm’s Tampa office, practices primarily in construction, middle market mergers and acquisitions, tax, and corporate/securities. Jacqueline is an attorney with a Certified General Contractor license, Master of Laws in Taxation, and Sale Associate license. These accolades allow her a range of experience as a middle-market mergers and acquisitions attorney with a niche in the construction industry.
 See revision to Section 713.011(1), Fla. Stat. Available at flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/624/BillText/c2/HTML.
 See revision to Section 713.132(1)(f), Fla. Stat.