Payton & Associates, LLC
Commercial Litigation Attorneys
Miami, Florida

What can businesses do to force payment in construction disputes?

In the normal course of business, invoices are sent out and paid in due course for the work that has been performed. In the construction industry, there are many factors that can lead to a lack of timely payment or no payment whatsoever, including delays in a construction project, a lack of performance from a subcontractor or other party, or conditions wholly outside the control of any party.

When a project is derailed, it often leads Miami businesses to pursue construction litigation to enforce their rights. After all, if another party is not performing its obligations, there comes a point where there is not much else one can do but get a court order against that party.

That is not always the case, however, as there are certain steps that can be taken before proceeding to litigation to force another party into performance. Namely, construction disputes often involve the filing of construction liens against the property. For example, when contractors fail to pay subcontractors or suppliers, those parties may put a construction lien on the property in an attempt to recover payment. This may be the case even if the property owner paid the contractor in full. The effects of a construction lien can be severe. A party with a valid construction lien can seek to foreclose on the property, meaning the property can be sold against the owner's will in order to satisfy the outstanding cost of services on the property.

Accordingly, construction liens should be taken seriously. Parties should understand the procedures that must be followed before a construction lien can be recorded and foreclosed upon, as the lien may be lost if the required procedures are not followed. Thus, those who want to file for a lien need to know how to properly do so, while those seeking to defend against a lien need to know the process in order to know what defenses may be available.

Source: The 2015 Florida Statutes, "Chapter 713," accessed on Oct. 17, 2015

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