Step-by-step guide to protecting payment for construction, improvement, and material supply work in Georgia. Learn how to secure and assert your mechanics lien rights for when non-payment becomes an issue.
Do You Have A Mechanics Lien Right?
This requires that you answer two questions: (1) Does the law protect you and qualify you to file; and (2) If so, did you send any required preliminary notices? Georgia's law is pretty broad on the first question, such that if you furnished almost anything to a construction project or improvement project, you'll have a mechanics lien right. On the second question Georgia law is a bit more complicated. Anyone who furnishes to anyone other than the property owner must send a preliminary notice, but only if the property owner filed a Notice of Commencement at the start of the project. Practically speaking, this happens only sometimes, and there's no way to really know without going to the recorders physical office and looking it up. It's a good practice to send preliminary notice every time, but also a good practice to remember you may have lien rights even if you didn't.
Prepare Your Mechanics Lien Document And Get It Filed
The next step is straight-forward: get your mechanics lien document prepared and filed. This is more difficult than it seems because the requirements are very technical about what must be on the mechanics lien document. Accordingly, be very careful. Also, be very careful about forms you'll find online. Get your form from a reputable source. One such source is linked below, where you can download a Georgia mechanics lien form for free. Georgia mechanics lien claims must be filed with the county clerk of superior court for the county where the property being liened is located (i.e. the job site).
Serve the Property Owner
This is very important - if you mess up here, you'll be in hot water, and may lose your lien claim. Georgia law requires you serve the property owner with a copy of the mechanics lien within just two days from when you filed the claim. It must be served by registered or certified mail, or by overnight delivery. Get your mechanics lien claim in the property owner's hands ASAP! Keep record that you served it, because proof that you served it is just as important as actually serving it.
Get Paid Or Get Moving On The Claim
Most mechanics lien claims will get paid - but if it doesn't produce payment immediately, don't just sit on it. The longer you sit on a debt, the more difficult it will be to collect upon it. Plus, your mechanics lien claim will not last forever. Georgia mechanics lien claims last only 1 year from the date of filing. So, if you don't get paid, get moving. File your foreclosure action. Make collection or legal demands. Etc.