A mechanic’s lien allows professionals to protect themselves and ensure payment by placing a lien on the property. If the agreed upon work is completed and the bill has not been paid, the professional can file a lien now, which places an encumbrance on the property making it virtually impossible for the home owner to refinance or sell the property until the lien is paid.
What are Georgia’s Mechanic’s Lien Laws?
Georgia’s mechanic’s lien laws have extremely specific requirements. The lien must include exact statements and follow a prescribed format. In addition, the professional filing the lien must notify the homeowner and contractor by sending a copy of the lien within 48 hours of filing the lien. Any small deviation from the requirements can result in the lien being considered void. The process for filing a Mechanic’s Lien in Georgia has been detailed below. You can find the complete law governing mechanic’s liens in Georgia Code §§ 44-14-361 and 361.1.
How to File a Mechanic’s Lien in Georgia
The steps for filing a lien in Georgia are detailed below:
Step 1: Determine If You are Eligible for a Mechanic’s Lien
A mechanic’s lien is available for a professional who has entered a contract to provide services for a client and then has not been paid. A written contract is preferred but if you have enough documentation to show the existence of an agreement or that you have performed the work that will also work.
The professional filing the lien can be a mechanic, contractor, subcontractor, materialman, machinist, manufacturer, registered architect, registered forester, registered land surveyor, or registered professional engineer.
Step 2: When to File the Lien
A lien must be filed within 90 days after the work has been completed. You may not file the lien before the services are provided.
Step 3: How to File the Lien
The lien must be filed with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the property is located.
The lien must include a statement that the person receiving the lien has the right to contest it. If the lien does not contain this statement, it will be considered void.
The lien must also include an expiration date for the lien (generally 365 days from the date that the lien is filed).
The claim must follow this format:
“A.B., a mechanic, contractor, subcontractor, materialman, machinist, manufacturer, registered architect, registered forester, registered land surveyor, registered professional engineer, or other person (as the case may be) claims a lien in the amount of (specify the amount claimed) on the house, factory, mill, machinery, or railroad (as the case may be) and the premises or real estate on which it is erected or built, of C.D. (describing the houses, premises, real estate, or railroad), for satisfaction of a claim which became due on (specify the date the claim was due, which is the same as the last date the labor, services, or materials were supplied to the premises) for building, repairing, improving, or furnishing material (or whatever the claim may be).”
Notification of Lien:
Within 2 business days, the claimant must send a copy of the lien claim to the owner of the property and the contractor via certified mail or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.
Step 4: Beginning Legal Proceedings
After filing the lien and notifying the owner of the property, the claimant must file a claim in court against the owner. Once the lien is filed, the claimant has 365 days to begin legal action.
Once the claimant has filed a law suit and begun legal action, the claimant must then file a notice with the court where the lien was claimed. This notice must be filed within 30 days of filing the law suit.
To file this notice, the claimant must execute the notice under oath or it may be filed by the lawyer representing the party.
The notice must include the following:
- The court or arbitration venue where the claim is being brought
- Claim Information:
- Style and number of lien action
- Date of the filing
- Book and number associated with the filing
Step 5: Timeline
In the state of Georgia mechanic’s liens are not enforceable if no action is made within 365 days of filing the lien.
Changing the Timeline:
The homeowner or contractor can contest the lien to change the timeline. An owner or an owner’s agent or attorney, or the contractor or contractor’s agent or attorney, may elect to shorten the time prescribed in which to commence a lien action to enforce any claim of lien by recording in the superior court clerk’s office. The form used to contest the timeline is a “Notice of a Contest of Lien.”
- If within the time period for filing the lien action the contractor experiences extreme circumstances such as leaving the state, dying, claiming bankruptcy or other disaster, the party will not have to file a lien action or obtain judgement prior to filing the lien. They may enforce the lien directly.
Assistance with Filing a Georgia Mechanic’s Lien:
Mechanic’s liens can be difficult because they are different in every state. The lien filing process in Georgia is particularly difficult because of all the necessary notifications and timelines. Even minor errors in the lien filing process may lead to the lien being considered void.
Due to the complexity of the lien filing process for the state of Georgia, it is recommended that you have an expert help you navigate the process and ensure that you are meeting the requirements. Lien It Now offers services to walk you through the process of filing a lien.
You provide us with the project information and we prepare your lien documents, file, and serve them. Lien It Now’s professionals review your order. We double check your order form for certain errors and confirm the name and address of the owner of the property against whom the lien is being filed. If an error is detected, we will inform you and will assist you in resolving it. Click here to start the process now. You can also check out our FAQ about filing a mechanic’s lien in Georgia or feel free to contact us via phone or email with any questions that you might have.