Ocala, FL Construction Law FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions: Florida Construction Law
Our Ocala construction law firm can assist those with questions about legal issues related to Florida Construction Law & Litigation. Our construction lawyers in Ocala represent a wide array of interested parties in a construction contract, bid, claim or project. Schatt, McGraw, Rauba & Mutarelli is available to provide legal counsel about a variety of construction law issues. Following are some frequently asked questions our construction lawyers in Ocala, FL often hear.
What is a building code?
A building code is a set of rules that govern various requirements of structures. This includes requirements about fire safety equipment, handicapped access, electricity, plumbing and other matters. Buildings must comply with building codes, so it is important to consult with a construction attorney in Ocala, FL, when planning and constructing a building.
What permits do I need to get?
The types of permits required depend on the size and type of construction project. Most projects will require some type of general building permit. A construction attorney in Ocala, FL, can help you obtain all necessary permits.
Do I have to use a licensed contractor on my construction project?
In most cases, you will need a licensed contractor. By using a licensed contractor, you will have greater assurance that the job will be completed correctly.
What is a mechanic’s lien?
A mechanic's lien occurs when a those who supplied labor or material for the project retain a claim on the property itself equal to the value of the services they provided. These liens can be removed by paying the lien holder for their services.
Can my contractor bill me for more than his estimate?
Yes. An estimate is usually a preliminary projection of costs. If an estimate differs significantly from a bill, then you may want to contact a construction law firm to see if there are legal remedies available.
Is an oral contract legally valid?
Some contracts are required to be in writing, while some may be made orally. In a construction contract, you should always place any agreements into writing to evidence the terms of the agreement. Contact our Ocala law firm for construction contract drafting, preparation and reviews.
What is the difference between a building inspection and a home inspection?
A building inspection is employed by the government to assess a property's compliance with building codes and regulations. A home inspector is an independently hired individual who looks for defects with the property.
What is a construction defect?
A construction defect is a deficient design or construction that results from a builder's failure to complete the work in a proper manner. If there is a construction defect, the builder can be held liable.
What does the builder’s warranty really cover?
A builder's warranty ensures that the construction was completed in a workmanlike manner. It covers the design and construction of the structure.
How do I prove that a defect exists?
To prove a defect, you generally need the opinion of an independent inspector and evidence that the builder caused the defect.
What should I do if the developer has agreed to make the necessary repairs?
If your developer has agreed to make repairs, make sure to document the agreement and to promptly report any repairs. Review the agreement with a construction lawyer to ensure there are no loopholes.
Where do I get the money to pay for a lawsuit?
Many construction attorneys will pursue a case on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney recovers a percentage of any funds you receive, but nothing is required up front.
How do I recover if the builder / developer is out of business, cannot be located or is bankrupt?
In cases such as these, it can be difficult to recover damages, but a construction lawyer may be able to find ways to recover funds on your behalf. There may be insurance policies that can cover damages.
Will the homeowners or homeowner association’s insurance company cover damages caused by construction defects?
This depends on the terms of the particular homeowner's association and its insurance. Construction attorneys can help review these agreements.
Am I required to make repairs while the lawsuit is pending? Can I recover those costs in the lawsuit?
In pending lawsuits, you are required to take action to reduce any potential damages. Before you make any repairs, you should consult with an attorney.
Can I sell or refinance my home during the litigation?
Possibly, but access to the home may be necessary during litigation. Make sure to speak with an attorney before you decide to sell or refinance.
Which Florida statutes generally cover Florida construction lien law and how are they construed?
Florida construction lien laws are found in Title XL, Chapter 713 of the Florida statutes. These laws require strict compliance with those to whom they apply.
What is a construction lien?
Construction liens allow contractors, subcontractors and suppliers who provide labor, services and materials in a project to retain a financial interest in the project.
What is lienable?
Lienable means that the property is subject to a lien.
What property can be liened?
Your real property can have a lien placed against it. Other fixtures and personal property may also be subject to a lien.
What are the critical pre-lien notices required under Florida Construction Lien Law?
Notice must first be given to the property owner and with the building department.
What are the basics and functionality of the Notice of Commencement?
The Notice of Commencement informs the building department of the project and allows all necessary inspections to occur.
What should I do if I am a lienor and have received a Notice of Termination?
If a Notice of Termination is received, the lienor should record a claim of lien prior to the date of termination in the notice.
How are liens waived, released and satisfied?
To waive, release and satisfy a lien, there must be a written record.
What is a Contractor’s Final Payment Affidavit?
A Contractor's Final Payment Affidavit declares that all lienors under his or her direct contract who have timely served a notice to owner on the owner and the contractor have been paid in full or, if the fact be otherwise, showing the name of each such lienor who has not been paid in full and the amount due.
How are unlicensed contractors treated under Florida Lien law?
They a prohibited from placing a lien on the property.
What disciplinary actions and criminal penalties can be imposed for abuse of Florida’s Construction lien laws?
Penalties that may be imposed include felony charges, monetary fines, and voiding of liens.
What is a fraudulent lien, and what are the penalties for filing one?
A fraudulent lien occurs when a person (1) willfully exaggerated the amount for which the lien is claimed; (2) included a claim for work not performed or materials not furnished; or (3) asserted a lien for work admittedly not performed, non-lienable items, or compiled a claim of lien with such willful and gross negligence as to amount to a willful exaggeration. A fraudulent lien can result in criminal and administrative penalties.
What is a homeowners association?
A homeowner's association is a neighborhood group that sets forth rules and regulations for properties. An association may govern aesthetics and use of the property.
Who can be held liable for construction accident injuries?
The contractor may be held liable for construction accident attorneys and potentially the property owner. Contractors and property owners should contact Ocala construction law firms to ensure protection from liability.
Contact Schatt, McGraw, Rauba & Mutarelli for answers to any construction law questions you may have.