Your Rights as a Contractor: Writing a Demand Letter and Filing a Mechanics Lien
If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier who has never received compensation for a job you performed, you have options at your disposal. In the state of Florida, a mechanics lien can be filed within 90 days of the last furnishing of labor or materials provided on a property. While this type of lien helps reserve the rights of filers to seek any unpaid compensation, it is also advised that you work alongside a collections attorney to ensure that everything is filed appropriately.
A debt collections attorney will understand the laws and how you can best go about legally obtaining the compensation owed to you. Similarly, they can also help you draft a demand letter — which acts as a preliminary step to help resolve disputes before additional legal action is taken in court.
Additionally, unlike a collections agency, a collection attorney has the legal power to bring your debtor to court to ensure that you can receive payment. This can be particularly important, as you can be assured that you’re concerns are dealt with effectively and not put on the back burner by an overwhelmed agency.
What is a Demand Letter?
First and foremost, an attorney can help you draft and send a demand letter to your debtor. In the demand letter, you can specify that, unless terms are met, you will be filing a mechanic lien against the property. This notice of an intent to lien can be a good motivator towards getting the debtor to pay what they owe. Submitting all of this is the first step in helping you receive compensation and a few outcomes can occur from it.
There are a few different outcomes that can occur after a demand letter is sent.
- Firstly, in the best-case scenario, the debtor accepts the demands and makes the payment owed to you.
- Secondly, they could make a counteroffer which means that, while they don’t accept the original terms, they are willing to negotiate. This offer does not have to be accepted on your part and you may choose to send your own counteroffer back to the debtor.
- Thirdly, a debtor can refuse the demand letter or returned counteroffer, in which case it will be necessary to move forward with a lawsuit.
In the event that your demand letter is refused, you can work with your collections attorney to help set up your lawsuit and bring the debtor into court. While this can be time-consuming, it is well worth it to ensure that you get the proper compensation you are owed. Additionally, because you are working with a professional who knows the laws, you will have a much better chance of receiving the compensation you are owed, as opposed to potentially losing out on the money altogether.
If you are missing out on compensation for a job that you provided labor and/or materials for, reach out to a collections attorney today to speak more about your options and get the ball rolling on writing your own demand letter. While the letter itself will hopefully be enough to spur payment, in the event that you do need to go to court, you’ll be thankful for the legal aid of a qualified attorney and the increased chance of collecting what is owed to you.