Question: “I received a Notice to Owner; what should I do?”
My name is Jim Boatman. I’m an attorney and work out of Naples, Florida and periodically I like to take some questions that I’ve received from prospective clients and answer them for everybody.
The question I’m going to deal with this morning says, “Hello, I’m having some construction work done on my house and I received a Notice to Owner from a company that I don’t have a contract with and is not my contractor – what should I do?”
That’s a good question. A Notice to Owner is a document that is served on a property owner by a subcontractor who did not have a contract with that owner, but who is working on that project, usually under a general contractor. The Notice to Owner simply puts the owner on notice that there’s a company working on the project that is providing a benefit to the house.
It’s important in such a circumstance for the homeowner to make sure that when payments are going to be made to the general contractor, the owner receives from the general contractor a partial lien release for work that would have been done by the subcontractor who served the notice to owner. If you don’t get that lien release then, ultimately, at the end of the job that subcontractor could lien your project and potentially foreclose on that lien. You could end up paying twice for work done by that subcontractor.
So, the best practice is simply when you get a Notice to Owner, make a note of it, and before you make a payment to the general contractor, get a partial lien release from the subcontractor who served the notice to owner. And ultimately, before the final payment is made to the contractor, you’re going to want to get a final lien release for that subcontractor.
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