A recent ruling by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal over a dispute involving a new real estate development on a City of North Miami property has clarified a potentially confusing aspect of the lien law.
The ruling provides both the government landlords as well as their private-sector developer partners a new understanding of how Florida’s lien law will be applied if construction disputes arise and liens are filed.
The case involved a dispute at Biscayne Landing in North Miami. The City of North Miami leased the property in May 2012 to developer Oleta Partners LLC as a sub-landlord, and Oleta subsequently entered into a ground sublease with Warren Henry Automobiles for a new dealership on a portion of the property. Warren Henry later assigned the ground sublease to another company, which conveyed a leasehold interest in the property back to Warren Henry as a lower-tier sub-sub-tenant.
In 2017, the luxury automobile dealership retained general contractor James B. Pirtle Construction Co. to build its new store. A dispute arose and Pirtle recorded a construction lien against the tenant’s leasehold interest.