Contractors have long accepted the idea that they have little chance of enforcing a lien filed against a landlord for contracted tenant improvements. Landlords have had the upper hand for years on this issue. As long as they recorded a copy or an abbreviated version of the applicable lease, or as most landlords do, filed a statement that its leases prohibit any encumbrance or lien for improvements initiated by their tenants, landlords have been able to limit their liability for tenant improvement liens.
However, all that changed when the Florida Legislature revised §713.10. Now contractors are allowed to lien, even if there is a recorded document attempting to bar such filings. The amended law allows a contractor to request written verification of the landlord’s lien prohibition and requires the landlord to deliver the verification within 30 days. If the landlord fails to do so, or responds incorrectly, then its property interests can be subject to a lien.
Of course the contractor still has to comply with the requirements of the lien law, providing timely and proper notice to owner. And landlords also have to be more careful in their filings. The blanket filing requirement applicable to landlords has been amended such that a specific notice is now required to advise that the landlord’s leases prohibit liens and all recorded statements by the landlord must include language that all or a majority of its leases entered into on a subject property specifically forbid the liens. A landlords’ filings must precede the recording of a notice of commencement if they are to be legally effective.