Mechanic’s Lien: How Long Do I Have To Wait Before I Can File?


Mechanics Lien and Bond Claim Deadlines

Yesterday, someone in Treasure Coast, Florida submitted a question about mechanics liens to the “General Plumbing Discussion” forum at  The post, titled “Mechanic’s Lien in Florida” boils down to this question: “How long do I have to wait before I can place a mechanics lien on the property?”

There are two components to this question, and we’ll address each.

Is There A Required Waiting Period Before Filing A Mechanic’s Lien?

Short answer:  No.

Part of this forum participant’s question suggests confusion over whether there is a prescribed amount of time after providing work that a claimant must wait until filing a mechanics lien claim in Florida. His post, for example, mentions that the rough draw payment is 38 days past due, and asks how long he must wait to proceed with a lien.

We’ve addressed this question in a previous FAQs post titled “Can I File A Mechanics Lien Too Early?

A quote from that article sums it up:

So long as you have done the work and are not paid, you have the right to file a mechanics lien as long as you have met any applicable preliminary notice and notice of intent to lien requirements.

Should You Wait A Certain Period Of Time Before Filing A Mechanic’s Lien?

We’ve now established that you are not required to wait any designated period of time before filing a mechanic’s lien, and now we’ll turn to an equally important inquiry: Is there a period of time you should wait until filing a mechanic’s lien.

I love mechanic’s lien claims, but I’m the first person to preach temperance when speaking with someone thinking about filing. Filing a mechanic’s lien claim carries a lot of baggage.  It increases the temperature of a dispute, it costs relationship capital,  it subjects you to legal inquiry, etc.

Nevertheless, when push comes to shove, if you’re unpaid on a project you should absolutely take advantage of your mechanic’s lien rights.  And you should do so as soon as practical because your mechanic’s lien deadline will draw closer to expiration every single day.

In summary, you shouldn’t file your mechanic’s lien claim hastily, and you should really think about whether the time is right to file your claim. You shouldn’t waddle and delay unnecessarily either. There are strict time limitations to your claim and you want to be well within your window to avoid a dispute about the deadline.

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  • Scott Wolfe Jr

    Janice – thank you for your comment. There are two issues with your comment.

    First, it looks like you’re looking for specific advice about what you should do. That is legal advice, and we are just a forum for legal information and cannot give advice to you about what you should do. We can only provide information to help you make a decision yourself, and proceed through self-help.

    Second, I’m not sure I understand your question. You mention a “NTO” and waiting for a “90 day waiting period,” I’m not familiar with any rule like this.

    Typically, “NTOs” — or notices to owner — are sent at the start of furnishing any labor or materials to a project. This must be sent regardless of whether someone owes you money or not, and there is no “waiting period.” Folks simply must send this within a certain period of time from the start of furnishing. You can learn more about these notices here:

    After payment is late or goes into default, folks then typically consider filing a lien. There is no “waiting period.” However, there is only so long to file a mechanics lien, which differs in every state. This is usually calculated as a number of days AFTER the last furnishing or work or materials. Sometimes, it is 90 days, but sometimes more or less. Once work is discontinued, a lien can be filed within a certain number of days….It’s not a good idea to wait until the last minute to file, as demonstrated in this article:

    Hope this helps you find your way around our resources and to find an answer to your question. Good luck.