Why do I need a contractor's final payment affidavit?
Florida law requires that the contractor's final payment affidavit be presented to the owner when it's time to make the final payment on the project. The affidavit is only required by contractors, so subcontractors and materialmen need not provide any individual documents. The affidavit sets forth the amount of final payment due and affirms that all lienors have been paid in full (except for those specifically listed in the document as remaining unpaid). The affidavit is used in order to prevent the owner from having to pay twice.
If you fail to serve the owner with the final payment affidavit, you forfeit any lien right or right of action against the owner for labor, services, or materials furnished under the direct contract. Note that erroneously including or omitting any information in the affidavit, even if the owner accepts it, does not defeat an otherwise valid lien. Regardless, accuracy matters because the statement is given under oath, and an incorrect affidavit may be used in court to discredit the contractor's claims.
The contractor must execute the affidavit and deliver it to the owner at least 5 days before instituting an action to enforce his or her lien even if the final payment is not due or because the contract is terminated for a reason other than completion. This is required regardless of whether the contractor has any lienors working under him or her.
Filing the affidavit is a necessary precondition in order to eventually secure a mechanics lien on the owner's property to encourage payment. As such, take care when completing the affidavit to ensure everything is accurate when the owner receives it. The owner has the right to rely on the contractor's affidavit in making the final payment for all lienors listed within it.
Each case is unique, so contact an attorney with specific questions or for complex situations.
Deeds.com Florida Final Payment Affidavit Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday March 7, 2019
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