While title defects or clouds are not particularly common, they do surface fairly regularly. If this does happen, you might well be in need of a mechanic’s lien solution. Otherwise, you can’t pass the title legally when you sell to another person. Of course, that presents a really big problem. Until you somehow resolve the issue, it will prevent you from selling your house. Which means it’s ultimately up to you to deal with it. So, let’s take a look at the law here in the Sunshine State and your options for successfully dealing with a lien.
Florida Mechanic’s Lien Law
In the state of Florida, a construction lien is available only for certain entities or professional individuals to file. There are individuals and business entities who have a legal right to file a property lien. For instance, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment rental companies, laborers and licensed professionals. All these have legal standing to file a lien in Florida.
“Generally speaking, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment rental companies, laborers and professionals have lien rights in Florida. Florida does not require that you have a written contract to file a mechanics lien, so contracts can be oral, written, express or implied.” —The Lien and Credit Journal
Now, go back and look over that list. If you read it carefully, a license is usually required in order to file a lien. In other words, if a person or a business is operating without a proper license, they aren’t likely to have legitimate standing to file an encumbrance against a property.
Now, this doesn’t mean another person or business can’t file a lien. Much like with other legal processes, one can indeed be filed but that doesn’t make it enforceable. So, this is definitely one aspect to look into if there is a lien against a property. (It’s important to consult a licensed attorney familiar with this area of the law to best advise you on your rights and options.)
Home Seller’s Mechanic’s Lien Solutions
If you’ve already accepted an offer on a house you’re selling here in Orlando or throughout Florida, but a title search uncovered a mechanic’s lien, you’ll need to act quickly to resolve the situation. The first thing to do is look into the person or business which filed it. Here are some helpful mechanic’s lien solutions for home sellers:
- Challenge the lien’s validity. Begin with the person or the entity which filed the lien. Learn if the applicant has legal standing in the first place. Also, check out their licensure. Basically, you’re looking for anything that’s awry with the applicant or the document (or process) itself, to move to void it.
- Attempt to settle the matter. Once you’ve investigated the applicant and learned the process is indeed valid, you might consider settling the matter to dispose of it. You’ll have to work with the applicant and this process is best managed by an experienced attorney.
- Pay the amount to satisfy the lien. If the lien is valid and there’s nothing legal to challenge its validity, and you can’t get the applicant to settle the matter, you’ll have to bite the bullet. You’ll need to pay the amount sought to remove the lien, hence remove the encumbrance from the title so you can then transfer the property legally through a sale.
If you are considering selling a house in Orlando’s Hunter’s Creek, or another community, contact us for the latest market information. We are local and experienced in all facets of residential real estate, here to help you, when you need it.