I am regularly greeted on the telephone with the question, “Can I file a lien?” As you know there are numerous types of liens which a person who is owed money may file against the person who owes them money. But, we are a construction law firm in Georgia which means that we prepare and file a lot of materialmen’s liens on behalf of our clients. So, although we cannot always tell someone whether or not they can file some other type of lien, we can usually advise them whether or not Georgia’s lien laws allow them to file a materialmen’s lien in their particular matter. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that such liens in Georgia are referred to as “Mechanics Liens” or “Materialmen’s Liens”, but they are substantially similar to other states’ counterparts such as “Construction Lien”, “Subcontractor Lien” , “Supplier Lien”, “Architect Lien”, “Engineer Lien”, “Surveyor Lien”, “Forester Lien”, etc.
The Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A) Section 44-14-361 states that the following types of people may file materialmen liens in Georgia:
(1) All mechanics of every sort . . . for work done and material furnished in building, repairing, or improving any real estate of their employers;
(2) All contractors, all subcontractors and all materialmen furnishing material to subcontractors, and all laborers furnishing labor to subcontractors, materialmen, and persons furnishing material for the improvement of real estate;
(3) All registered architects furnishing plans, drawings, designs, or other architectural services on or with respect to any real estate;
(4) All registered foresters performing or furnishing services on or with respect to any real estate;
(5) All registered land surveyors and registered professional engineers performing or furnishing services on or with respect to any real estate;
(6) All contractors, all subcontractors and materialmen furnishing material to subcontractors, and all laborers furnishing labor for subcontractors for building factories, furnishing material for factories, or furnishing machinery for factories;
(7) All machinists and manufacturers of machinery, including corporations engaged in such business, who may furnish or put up any mill or other machinery in any county or who may repair the same;
(8) All contractors to build railroads; and
(9) All suppliers furnishing rental tools, appliances, machinery, or equipment for the improvement of real estate.
So, as you can see, Georgia’s lien laws casts a wide net allowing many categories of workers to claim materialmen’s liens on their construction projects if they are not paid. You probably knew that electricians and plumbers could file liens; now, you know that architects, foresters, surveyors, and many others may also be entitled to claim a lien to help them collect on past due accounts.
Hopefully, you receive payment on all of your projects, but if you are owed money for your services or materials used to improve real estate, then please feel free to contact the Cobb Law Group to help answer your questions about your rights to file a materialmen’s lien.