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Preliminary Notice FAQ

There are two preliminary notices in Georgia: the Notice to Contractor and the Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights.

A Georgia Notice to Contractor is the notice that other states typically refer to as a regular preliminary notice. It is a letter sent by a contractor or supplier to the general contractor and property owner at the start of a construction project. In many states, serving this type of preliminary notice is required to be sent in order to secure the right to lien.

Georgia has another pre-lien notice known as the Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights. Unlike a Notice to Contractor, the Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights is filed with the clerk of the superior court of the county where the project is located [i].

A Georgia Notice to Contractor is required for parties who have no direct contract with a general contractor if a property owner files a Notice of Commencement [ii].
A Georgia Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights is not required.

However, filing a Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights may protect the lien rights of a subcontractor or a material supplier if a higher-tier party such as a general contractor has waived their lien rights.

The Notice to Contractor must be served within 30 days of the date the Notice of Commencement was filed or within 30 days of your first day of work, whichever is later.

If you choose to file a Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights, you must do so within your first 30 days of work.

If you don’t send a Georgia Notice to Contractor when required, you lose your lien rights.

Failing to file a Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights has no direct impact on your lien rights.

Intent To File FAQ

A Georgia notice of intent to lien is sent before the filing of a mechanics lien becomes necessary. Although only a number of states require that this notice be sent, many construction participants send a notice of intent to lien as an uncostly way to have payments for invoices settled.

No, a Georgia notice of intent to lien is not required in the lien process. However, you may opt to send one anyway as it reminds the property owner of any outstanding balance.

In Georgia, a notice of intent to lien may be sent 10 days after filing a mechanics lien. It advises the owner of your intention to record a lien if the payment is not satisfied.

Failing to send a Georgia notice of intent to lien has no effect on your lien rights because this notice is not required in Georgia.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Georgia mechanics lien is an effective tool that helps make sure you will be paid for the construction materials and/or labor you supplied. It is a legal claim that can effectively recover payment for contractors and suppliers.

This means that if you file a valid mechanics lien in Georgia and you do not get paid for your work, you have the right to enforce the lien through a lawsuit. This enforcement action can either prompt the client to settle or force the sale of the property. The proceeds of the sale will be used to settle your unpaid bill.

If you successfully file a Georgia mechanics lien, you have an interest in the improved property. When a mechanics lien is filed on the property you worked on, the property becomes collateral for uncollected payments.

According to Georgia Code 44-14-361 [iii], parties who have lien rights in Georgia include contractors, subcontractors, materialmen, registered architects, registered foresters, registered land surveyors, registered professional engineers, etc.

A mechanics lien in Georgia must be filed within 90 days of your last day of work, which is the day when you last furnished labor or materials to the project.

A Georgia mechanics lien is enforceable within 395 days after the day of filing. A claimant must therefore enforce a mechanics lien within this period or the mechanics lien expires.

There is no specific format for the Georgia mechanics lien, but it generally contains the following details:

  •     Name, address, and contact information of the lienor
  •     Name, address, and contact information of the party who hired the lienor
  •     Name of the property owner
  •     General description of the services provided
  •     General description of the property location

The following statement must also be included in at least 12 point bold font, per Georgia Code 44-14-367 [iv]:

“This claim of lien expires and is void 395 days from the date of filing of the claim of lien if no notice of commencement of lien action is filed in that time period.”

Failure to include the notice above invalidates a Georgia mechanics lien.

Yes, you need a valid license in order to be eligible to file a mechanics lien if your profession requires a license to practice in the state of Georgia.

Cancelling a mechanics lien is not a hard-and-fast requirement in Georgia. A mechanics lien automatically expires within 395 days of the recordation date.

The “pay-if-paid” clause is enforceable in Georgia. 

No state or federal court in Georgia has mentioned or considered the validity of “pay-when-paid” clauses.

References:

[i] Georgia Code § 44-14-361.3
[ii] Georgia Code § 44-14-361.5
[iii] Georgia Code § 44-14-361
[iv] Georgia Code § 44-14-367

Handle.com provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to contractors and others who are seeking information regarding preliminary notices, intent to file, mechanics lien, and other construction questions. These are provided for informational purposes only, and we cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.

Georgia documents

Mechanics Lien

Still chasing payments on a construction project? File a Mechanics Lien on the project to recoup unpaid labor and materials.

Notice to Owner

Secure rights to file a lien and notify parties you’re on the job. Not filing a Notice to Owner may result in lost revenue in case of a delinquent client.