AVVO: Q & A – Can my home be liened by a window installer if no work has been performed, permit, financing and materials not delivered?

Christopher J. Weiss

Christopher J. Weiss

QUESTION:  I gave a deposit for window install and now don’t have the money to complete. I have not signed for the permit or the notice of commencement or the financing documents and no materials have been received or work performed. Can the window company put a lien on my house?

ANSWER:  In Florida, specially fabricated materials are lienable without incorporation. The issue is are they truly specially manufactured, designed, or fabricated for a particular project and are not materials that can be universally used on all projects. Specially fabricated materials have been described as those materials “not generally suited for nor readily adaptable to use in a like improvement.” Odolite Industries, Inc. v. Millman Const. Co., Inc., 501 So.2d 655, 656 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987) (quotation omitted). For instance, the Florida Supreme Court in Stunkel v. Gazebo Landscaping Design, Inc., 660 So.2d 623, 625 n.2 (Fla. 1995), noted that trees the owner specifically selected for a project were not specially fabricated because they could be used on other projects; whereas, in Lehigh Structural Steel Co. v. Joseph Langer, Inc., 43 So.2d 335, 338 (Fla. 1949), the Court noted that structural steel fabricated for a specific building was specially fabricated materials. (Notably, furnishing specially fabricated materials does not include “design work, submittals, or the like preliminary to actual fabrication of the materials.” Fla. Stat. s. 713.01(13).)

I suggest you engage a board certified construction attorney to advise you. Best regards.


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