By Alexander Barthet

Most construction claims are made up of sums that are in dispute and sums that are not. And generally, the party holding the undisputed sum is holding it for no reason other than to exert leverage. Under Florida construction lien law this need not be tolerated and collecting the undisputed portion of a construction claim is possible.

The Law Is On Your Side

The law states that 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 the same became due, shall entitle any person providing such labor, services or materials to certain remedies.

Here’s How It Works

The person not paid an undisputed amount 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; an allegation 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 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 was filed.

After service of the complaint, the court will conduct an evidentiary hearing on the complaint upon not less than 15 days written notice and will explore remedies such as a temporary injunction, prejudgment attachment and such relief as may be appropriate in accordance with the requirements of the law.

What Are You Waiting For

Collecting the undisputed portion of a construction claim is something you can do. The court must provide you a remedy without regard to whether or not irreparable damage has occurred or will occur. Of course, all this does not apply to the extent a bona fide dispute exists regarding any portion of the contract price or in the event