I had an interesting question asked last week about filing a lien for lawn service, either commercial or residential. When I explained it couldn’t be done, the questioner replied that he knew of other lawn services that had filed liens to get paid. I then explained further that just because someone files a lien, and the property owner pays, does not make the lien valid. There is always the risk that a property owner will fight the lien as fraudulent and recover attorneys’ fees against the claimant.
The key issue for determining whether a lien can be filed is the type of work and how it relates to the improvement of real property. In the lawn service example, regular lawn mowing and shrubbery cutting are not lienable; however, sodding and landscaping might be because they typically improve the property. A maid service performing routine cleaning is not lienable; a service providing cleaning as part of a construction project probably is lienable. The cases are Legault v. Suncoast Lawn Services, Inc., 486 So. 2d 72 (Fla. 4th DCA 1986) and Parc Central Aventura East Condominium v. Victoria Group Services, LLC, 54 So. 3d 532 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).