Notary requirement


So according to the 2021 Georgia lien law, a notary is not required now, BUT can a general contractor on their own still require a notary signature from the subcontractor and/or supplier? If so, how can it not be required, but also be allowed as a requirement? I have a customer who is still trying to require the notary (not the end of the world, but an inconvenience). Tipton Harrison Woodstock, GA

1 reply

Jan 13, 2021

I undertand your frustration. In my personal opinion, requiring lien waivers to be notarized is an overly-burdensome and rather unneccessary requirement. With the exception of the 3 states that require it; TX, MS, & WY.  

As far as notarizing waivers in Georgia, you're correct. There's no specific requirement to have waivers notarized to be valid. But there is also nothing preventing a general contractor from requiring it either. An argument could potentially be made that notarizing the waiver doesn't "substantially comply with the statutory form." But no one wants to be the one to push the limits of this in court (yet). At the end of the day, if the GC is requiring it, as inconvenient as it is, it's best practice to just comply.

Levelset's CEO Scott Wolfe actually wrote a whole article on this: Can Notarizing a Lien Waiver Actually Invalidate It? You can read the whole article which makes some interesting points, but the closing statements really sums it up nicely:

It's Probably Okay, But Certainly Not Worth It
As you can see, this is a bit of a hypothetical inquiry.  It’s a fact that lien waivers are notarized every day and that it’s a common practice to ask for notarization.  To my knowledge, notarizing a lien waiver that does not require it has never invalidated a waiver.  But, to my knowledge, it’s also true that having a lien waiver notarized has never really helped anyone either.  So, while notarization is probably okay in most instances, it’s not worth the additional hassle, and the tiny risk that the unnecessary step could tank the entire waiver.

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