By Alexander Barthet

You may be surprised to learn that a laborer is actually given a lot of lee way under Florida lien law, having to comply with the least amount of statutory prerequisites to enforce his or her lien. 

Why’s that? For one, a laborer need not serve a notice to owner to perfect his or her lien. The rationale for exempting laborers from certain notice requirements is that an individual laborer will not work long without pay and consequently will not have a large claim unknown to the owner or general contractor.

Who is considered a laborer?

The statutory definition of a laborer is “any person other than an architect, landscape architect, engineer, surveyor or mapper and the like who, under a properly authorized contract, personally performs on the site of the improvement labor or services for improving real property and does not furnish materials or labor service of others.”

Labor Pool vs. Laborer
A labor pool, however, is not a laborer.  Florida law clearly distinguishes between those who personally perform work and those who merely furnish persons to do the work. For all practical purposes, a labor pool or temporary labor supply firm is a subcontractor or a sub-subcontractor and as such must comply with all of the notice requirements of that class of lienor.

It is only the laborer who gets to file a lien regardless of any contractual relationship with the owner of the improved property.