Can I collect the undisputed portion of my claim?
Most construction claims are made up of sums that are in dispute and sums which are undisputed. More often than not,
the party holding the undisputed sum is holding it for no other reason than to exert leverage. Under Florida Construction lien law this need not be tolerated.
Any person who receives a payment for constructing or altering a permanent improvement to real property must
pay, in accordance with the contract terms, the undisputed contract obligation. The failure to pay the undisputed
obligation within 30 days after the date the labor, services, or materials are furnished, and payment for same became
due, shall entitle any person providing such labor, services, or materials to certain extraordinary procedures and
The complainant must first file and serve a verified complaint alleging: the existence of a contract to improve real property,
a description of the labor, services, or materials provided and allege that the labor, services, or materials were provided
in accordance with the contract, the amount of the contract price, the amount, if any, paid pursuant to the contract, the
amount that remains unpaid pursuant to the contract, the amount thereof that is undisputed, that the undisputed amount
has remained due and payable pursuant to the contract for more than 30 days after the date the labor or services were
accepted or the materials were received, and that the person against whom the complaint was filed has received payment
on account of the labor, services, or materials described in the complaint more than 30 days prior to the date the complaint
After service of the complaint, the court will conduct an evidentiary hearing on the complaint, upon not less than 15 days
written notice. The complainant is entitled to the following remedies up to the undisputed amount and upon proof of each
allegation in the complaint: an accounting of the use of any such payment from the person who received such payment,
a temporary injunction against the person who received the payment, subject to the bond requirements specified in the
Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, prejudgment attachment against the person who received the payment, in accordance
with each of the requirements of Florida’s lien law, and such other legal or equitable remedies as may be appropriate in
accordance with the requirements of the law.
These remedies must be granted without regard to any other remedy at law and without regard to whether or not
irreparable damage has occurred or will occur. The remedies, however, do not apply to the extent a bona fide dispute
exists regarding any portion of the contract price or in the event the complainant has committed a material breach of
the contract. The prevailing party in any proceeding under this section is entitled to recover costs, including a reasonable
attorney’s fee, at trial and on appeal.