An appellate decision in a case from Miami-Dade County Circuit Court has significant implications for community associations and the property management firms that provide them with cleaning, security, concierge and maintenance services. The appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision and found that the property management firm was not entitled to a claim of lien under the state’s Construction Lien Law.
The ruling by the Florida Third District Court of Appeal found that the property management firm in the case is not entitled to a claim of lien under Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, which is commonly known as the state’s “Construction Lien Law.” In its decision, the appellate panel noted that the law is intended to protect those who have provided labor and materials for the improvement of real property, and improvement is defined to mean “any building, structure, construction, demolition, excavation, solid-waste removal, landscaping, or any part thereof existing, built, erected, placed, made or done on land or other real property for its permanent benefit.” The appellate court’s decision notes that the condominium involved in this case, Parc Central Aventura East, was not under construction when the services were being provided by Victoria, and prior court decisions have concluded that lawn mowing and shrubbery cutting services were not lienable under the Florida lien law. It also notes that other state courts have ruled that services such as cleaning stairways, washroom grouting, and sealing of bathroom walls were also not lienable.
This ruling reaffirms that claims of lien under Florida’s Construction Lien Law will not be granted to those who provide standard maintenance and upkeep services for properties that are no longer under construction. The decision will surely be referenced by the community association lawyers in South Florida at our firm and throughout the state in cases where management and maintenance services providers seek to obtain a claim of lien based on services that do not involve construction.
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