I am a contractor that has performed work for an apartment complex, i.e. painting services, repairs, routine maintenance, etc. under contract and per agreement via signed work orders. The company contracted with has stopped paying me. This is an old debt (about three years now) for a balance of about $120,000.00 (principal and interest assessments). The parent company of the entity I contracted with has contacted me for settling the debt with an offer I frankly can't stomach. They have indicated the property I did work at is heading for foreclosure and they wanted to work something out with me so I wouldn't lose everything. I don't want to acept their low-ball offer and do not feel they are working in good faith (offerred $40,000.00 to be paid over 18 months). The property is not in foreclosure at the moment. How do I go about filing a mechanics lien and how does this affect the property? Is filing a lien my best option? What other avenues can I pursue for payment? I have been fortunate never to have been in such a situation before and need guidance on how to proceed. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX for your help.
State/Country relating to question: Florida
Miami-Dade County. General research on the web. Nothing specific yet.
Hi there, my name is XXXXXXX XXX I'm a business law attorney with experience in all aspects of business law. I'll do my best to assist you.
I'm afraid I don't have good news, but please understand I must explain the law truthfully and honestly, so please bear that in mind.
You must carefully preserve your right to a mechanic's lien.
According to F.S. § 713.08, you must file the lien "within 90 days after last furnishing services, labor or materials to the project."
So fairly soon after you stop work and did not get paid, you would have to file the lien.
After three years, there's really no chance, and courts don't accept excuses with these things.
You still have a right to collect on the debt.
However, keep in mind the FL statute of limitations on contracts is 4 years, so you're also running close to that.
You would have to commence a civil action against the general contractor, assuming that is how your work was structure.
The work was performed by my company directly, not through a general contractor.
As I'm understanding you, the mechanic's lien would not be an option for me.
What are the relevant statutes of Florida law for further reference?
It would not. You may still get a civil judgment and a standard judgment lien.
F.S. § 713.08
Would I now have to sue the LLC that owns the property for payment of the outstanding invoices?
The LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of a NY larger etablished company.
Yes, if that is who you contracted with, and you should do so quickly.
Both because it sounds like they may have liquidity issues and the statute of limitation.
How am I impacted if the property (sole asset of this LLC) goes into foreclosure?
Assuming there were no other guarantors on the contract, if the LLC has no assets there's nothing for you to collect a judgment against. If you had a lien on the property at this point it would probably be subordinate to the bank's lien (assuming that's who is foreclosing), and possibly other creditors, meaning it would be very uncertain if there were any assets left to pay your debt.
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Mechanic's liens are subordinate to bank liens?
Or are you referring to standard judgments?
No, standard civil judgments are generally subordinate to secured creditors such as banks, and to other judgments prior in time. So you might be at the back of a long line... You can usually find all of that information (secured mortgage documents, judgments, liens) in a public database with your local authorities. Of course, an attorney could probably give you a much better picture of where you stand and how to proceed, and given the amount that might be a good idea.
The bank would take the property, sell it, take the first share (which might be all), then any other secured creditors, then unsecured creditors such as your self in order of priority.
Experienced Business Lawyer
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