The Miller Act is a law that protects construction participants who work for public projects. It requires general contractors to furnish payment bonds to a project, which then allows lower-tier construction participants to recover their payment in cases of payment delinquencies.
This guide walks you through the process of serving a Miller Act notice in Georgia.
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- Who can serve a Miller Act notice in Georgia?
- Notice to Contractor in Georgia
- When is the deadline for serving the Miller Act notice in Georgia?
- How to serve a Miller Act notice in Georgia?
- Best practices for serving a Miller Act notice in Georgia
Who can serve a Miller Act notice in Georgia?
Georgia allows subcontractors, material suppliers, and other lower-tier participants to make a bond claim. Note that since general contractors are the ones who furnish the payment bonds, they cannot make claims against their own bonds.
Notice to Contractor in Georgia
If you have no direct contract with the general contractor, you must serve them a Notice to Contractor before you can make a payment bond claim.
The Notice to Contractor requirement does not apply if the general contractor fails to record a valid Notice of Commencement. However, it is best practice to still serve a Notice to Contractor just to be safe. If you fail to serve this notice when required, you will lose your right to making a bond claim.
When is the deadline for serving the Miller Act notice in Georgia?
The bond claim notice must be served within 90 days of your last day of work. Note that the bond claim itself is only effective for 1 year after project completion. If you do not receive payment or enforce the bond claim within this 1-year time frame, the bond claim expires and will no longer be enforceable.
How to serve a Miller Act notice in Georgia?
Request for information at the beginning of a project
Before you serve a Miller Act notice, you must ask the general contractor for the following information:
- The name of the surety
- The address of the surety
- A copy of the payment bond
You ask for these details by serving the general contractor a Request for Information. Ideally, the general contractor will respond to your request and provide you with the necessary information that you can use to learn more about the payment bond terms.
Prepare the Miller Act notice
In Georgia, the Miller Act notice must have the following information:
- The amount being claimed
- The name of the hiring party
You may also add the following details on the Miller Act notice:
- The name of the general contractor
- Your name and address
- The name of the public entity
- A description of the services you furnished to the project
Serve the Miller Act notice
The Miller Act notice must be served on the general contractor within 90 days of your last day of work. You may deliver the notice via certified or registered mail or via personal delivery. You can also generate and sign a Miller Act notice for Georgia on Handle.com.
Note that while you are only required to serve the Miller Act notice on the general contractor, you may also choose to serve it on the surety.
Call the general contractor and the surety to follow up
Calling the surety or the general contractor to follow up on your bond claim is important. This way, you will find out what the status of your claim is. If it doesn’t seem like you will be getting your payment, be ready to enforce the bond claim.
Remember that bond claims in Georgia are only effective for 1 year following project completion. You must therefore enforce the claim by filing a lawsuit. Beyond this 1-year time frame, the bond claim will no longer be enforceable and you may not receive your payment at all.
Best practices for serving a Miller Act notice in Georgia
Serve a Request for Information
The first and most important step when serving a Miller Act notice is requesting for information at the beginning of a project. You want to know who the surety is and how to reach them, and you also want a copy of the bond claim itself. Knowing these details will help you once you need to make a bond claim later in the project.
Remember to serve a Notice to Contractor
Even though the Notice to Contractor is only required if the general contractor has filed a valid Notice of Commencement, you should err on the side of caution and serve this notice anyway. This is particularly important for those who have no direct contract with the GC. Failing to serve a Notice to Contractor when required can be fatal to your bond claim rights in Georgia.
Enforce the bond claim if needed
You have one year after project completion to file a lawsuit and enforce your payment bond claim in Georgia. You should complete this step, especially if it does not seem like the surety will be covering your payment. Enforcing a bond claim is your last recourse to receive the money that you have rightfully earned.