Understanding Georgia's mechanics lien requirements
Georgia’s mechanics lien laws provide substantial protection for contractors and suppliers. However, there are many requirements that must be followed in order for a construction participant to qualify for, maintain, perfect, and enforce lien rights. This page provides frequently asked questions about Georgia’s mechanics lien laws and rules, the lien statutes, and a breakdown of the lien and notice details for contractors and suppliers in Georgia.
Contractors & suppliers have strong lien rights in Georgia. If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid on a Georgia job, they can file a mechanics lien to speed up payment and protect themselves. However, lien claimants must follow specific requirements and rules in order to protect their payment rights.
Georgia mechanics lien rights
Georgia gives mechanics lien rights to a wide variety of parties on a construction project. This includes:
- General contractors
- Material suppliers (to general contractors and subcontractors)
- Registered architects
- Registered professional engineers
- Machinists or manufacturers of machinery
- Equipment renters
If you are required to be licensed by state laws but are unlicensed, you will forfeit your mechanics lien rights.
Protecting Georgia lien rights
Georgia requires preliminary notice to protect your right to file a mechanics lien only in specific cases. If you did not contract with the prime contractor, and they filed a GA Notice of Commencement on the project, you must send preliminary notice. You must send the notice within 30 days of the first date of furnishing labor or materials to the project, or within 30 days of the filing of the Notice of Commencement, whichever date is later.
Those who contracted directly with the property owner (e.g. the GC) do not have any preliminary notice requirements. If the owner didn’t file a Notice of Commencement, it may not be required – but sending preliminary notice is still recommended to gain other benefits.
Deadline to file in Georgia
The deadline to file a mechanics lien in Georgia for all parties is 90 days from the last date they supplied labor or materials on the project.
Filing a mechanics lien in Georgia
If you have taken action to preserve your lien rights, there are three basic steps to file a mechanics lien in Georgia.
- Complete a Georgia mechanics lien form
Details and absolute accuracy are critical when you fill out the mechanics lien form. Even a small mistake could get your lien claim tossed out. Download a free Georgia mechanics lien form.
- Record the lien with the county clerk
You need to bring the completed lien claim form to the clerk of the superior court in the county where the property is located. View a list of all Georgia county clerk offices, with contact and filing information
- Serve the lien on the property owner
You must serve the lien on the property owner by certified or registered mail, or by overnight delivery, within 2 days of recording the lien.
Releasing a lien
Georgia doesn’t require claimants to release their mechanics lien from the property once they get paid. Georgia mechanics liens automatically expire 1 year after filing. However, releasing a lien after payment is generally a good practice, since the property owner will likely ask you to do it anyway.
Enforcing a Georgia lien claim
It is rare that a payment dispute doesn’t get resolved after filing a mechanics lien. However, if you are still not paid, you can choose to enforce the mechanics lien claim in court. You must file this action within one year of filing your claim. Unless, the owner files a Notice of Contest of Lien. If a claimant receives this notice, the deadline to enforce the claim is drastically reduced to just 60 days after receipt of the notice.