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What is the best thing to do in this situation?

GeorgiaMechanics Lien

I filed a mechanics lien on a company named wdgcg on June 27,2019. I received a letter today July 29 saying to reduce the amount the Lien was filed for or they will remove the lien bc from the property bc the amount we filed it for was wrong according to them. I have proof with invoices,pay apps, timesheets signed by their supervisor that the amount we billed for was accurate. The amount we billed for was around $100k in this amount it included the retainage from the very beginning of the job.

1 reply

Jul 30, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you had to lien this job. Before getting too far along, it's worth mentioning that it's common for an owner or contractor's first reaction to a lien claim to be to challenge the filed lien - regardless of whether there's any basis for doing so. And, as I'm sure you know, a challenge to a lien does not mean that lien is flawed. Levelset has written about that topic before: My Lien Was Challenged — What Do I Do? I think that article should be helpful here, and it's a quick 4 minute read.

When allegations that a mechanics lien has been improperly filed can easily be refuted - it might be a good idea to simply show the party challenging the lien that they're wrong. Or, if you're wary of providing copies of invoice, pay app, and timesheet documentation, simply responding by stating that the lien amount is, in fact, correct might be a fair course of action.

Further, if they haven't specified what amount should allegedly be liened, it might be helpful to gain a better understanding of their position. Asking for a calculation and supporting documentation could be helpful - if the amount of the filed lien is correct, and if that's backed up by project documentation like invoices, pay apps, etc., then it should be easy to prove their calculations and/or documentation are wrong.

It's also worth taking a close look at exactly how the lien is being challenged. Under § 44-14-368 of Georgia's mechanics lien statute, an owner or contractor can file what's called a "Notice of Contest of Lien". If that document is filed, then a lien claimant will only have 90 days from its filing to enforce the filed lien. If a Notice of Contest is filed and 90 days pass with no enforcement action, the lien will be dissolved. However, the owner or contractor must send a copy of that Notice of Contest to the lien claimant - so, this shortened time period shouldn't take anyone by surprise.

Ultimately, though, how to respond to a lien challenge or how to proceed with a filed lien can vary a lot, depending on the situation. It's important not to be intimidated simply because someone has opposed the lien, but at the same time, it might be wise to consult a local construction attorney to have them review the situation when it's clear that payment won't be obtained without further dispute. They'll be able to look at the relevant documentation and circumstances and advise on how best to proceed.
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