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Do we have any rights to appeal a construction lien once it is put on our home?

GeorgiaBonding Off LienLien ForeclosureMechanics Lien

We hired a company to install new custom windows and doors in our home. This was over a $60K project. Several windows and one of the doors were ordered incorrectly (grid styles, size, etc). The company reluctantly replaced the incorrect windows but refused to replace the door without insisting that we pay for it in full first, stating that it was a custom door and was not returnable . The entire project was custom, and the diagrams that we received upon ordering were very vague in styling and dimension, therefore there was no way to verify what we ordered is what we were to receive. The communication was extremely poor . They claimed that we had conversations supporting what was ordered, however, those conversations were untrue. They offered to replace the door only by purchasing a new door (without giving credit for the incorrect door). We would be paying for 2 doors due to their ordering mistake. We are at an impasse and they are threatening us with a lien on our home if we do not pay for the door that was ordered incorrectly. In the interim, we have gotten a quote from another vendor to replace the door with the correct styling and would like to return incorrect door to the oiginal company once that is completed. Do we have any rights to appeal a lien under such circumstances?

1 reply

Mar 12, 2019
That sounds like a messy and frustrating situation. A property owner always has the right to contest a lien claim - the mere act of filing a lien (by itself) doesn't mandate or obligate the property owner to do anything. A lien must be enforced through a foreclosure / lien enforcement action or the lien will expire and become unenforceable. Through the enforcement action, a property owner can defend themselves and their property, and assert any claims s/he may have against the contractor, as well. Additionally, if a lien is filed, there are occasionally opportunities made available to contest the lien prior to an enforcement action being initiated.

In Georgia, a property owner can get a lien discharged by obtaining an filing a bond to take the place of the property (such that the claim must be made and attempted to be enforced against the bond rather than the improved property itself), but that requires obtaining a bond and taking some additional steps.

Further, Georgia allows an owner to shorten the time prescribed in which the lien claimant must commence a lien action to enforce any claim of lien in order to force the action and enable them to defend the property more quickly. To do so, the owner must record a "Notice of Contest of Lien" with the clerk of court, and delivering the same to the lien claimant. Filing such notice mandates the claimant to initiate an enforcement action within 60 days from receipt of the notice of contest, and file a notice of commencement of lien action within 3 days from filing the enforcement action. If the lien claimant fails to do so, the lien is extinguished.

Additionally, to the extent any alleged lien would actually be improper, it may be worth informing the contractor of potential consequences of filing an improper lien. filing an improper lien in Georgia can result in damages for defamation/slander of title, and require the claimant to bear the burden of the property owner's attorneys' fees.

I hope you and your contractor are able to reach a satisfactory resolution to the issue.
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