Georgia Construction, Bond & Lien Law Blog

Cobb Law Group is Pleased to Support Local Charity Event

Posted in Miscellaneous by Administrator on the February 28th, 2012

Once again, the Cobb Law Group is pleased to be a supporter of the Thomasville Antique Show.  This amazing show has been described as one of the best “small” antique shows in the country.  The quality of antiques available are unparalleled in quality, but it is the people behind the Show that make it so successful.  In fact, this success has raised over $1,650,000 for the benefit of local children’s programs since its inception in the last 22 years!

The dealers at the show are all amazing–they are friendly, intelligent, and highly regarded in their fields and they come from across the country–from Florida to Maine to the west.  They always seem willing to help the novice collector and advise the experienced collectors.  Of course, this amount of money could not be raised with the dedication (and donations and time and creativity) of the leaders and volunteers.  This group has been working diligently for a year to guarantee another successful Show.  The speakers are always world-class and very educational, and this year’s speakers promise the same.   Susan Crater & Libby Cameron will be speaking on “Sister Parish Design”, Ron Morgan will speak on “A Glass Act” and give a floral design workshop, and Thomas Jayne will speak on “The Finest Rooms in America”.  Plus, there are antique appraisals and many other exciting events associated with the Show.

Ultimately, the time is donated and the dealers and speakers arrive each year because of the shoppers.   Some are generalists and some come looking for specific items; some spend a little money and others a lot, but everyone seems to enjoy the quality of the items for sale and the accessibility to some of the finest dealers in the county.

The Cobb Law Group salutes the Thomasville Antique Shows–it’s leaders, volunteers, dealers, and shoppers.  If you are looking for something new and interesting to do this weekend, come on out and shop the show for a good cause!

If you have been to the show, please let us hear about your experience!

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When Should a Mechanics’ Lien or a Materialmen’s Lien be Filed in Georgia?

When do I need to file a materialman’s lien in Georgia?

According to many telephone conversations with potential clients, this is the question of the week!  If you don’t know, then let us say it clearly, all construction liens (this includes supplier liens, subcontractor liens, contractor liens, mechanic liens, and materialman liens) must be filed within 90 days from the last day in which the lien claimant actually worked on the project–this deadline is not based on invoice dates!

Well, a lot of potential lien claimants seem to know this, but they are unclear how to put this into practice, and we understand because this can be confusing.  Here are some tips to help you navigate Georgia’s Lien Deadlines:

Make Sure You Calculate the 90 Day Deadline Correctly: We recently had someone contact us who assured us that there were still a few days in which a materialmen’s lien could be timely filed; as soon as we calculated the deadline ourselves, it was apparent that the deadline had already expired:  Our caller made three mistakes:

  1. Count Days Not Months: Our caller was using months to calculate the deadline–he was counting November 22 to December 22 to January 22 to February 22 instead of counting actual days; unfortunately, Georgia liens must be filed within a 90 day deadline and this caller’s information failed to take into account December’s 31st day and January 31st day.  Consequently, his right to file a mechanic’s lien in Georgia did not expire February 5, it expired a few days earlier;
  2. Liens Need to be Filed Within 90 Days:  Furthermore, our caller thought the lien could be filed on the 90th day; in reality, the lien should be filed prior to the 90th day following the last day worked.
  3. Weekends and Holidays Do Not Extend Deadline: Due to the randomness of the calendar, our caller’s 90th day following the last day worked fell on a Monday; since all Georgia liens must be filed within 90 days of the last day worked, that meant his claim of lien had be filed Sunday or before.  As you know, courthouses are closed on Saturday and Sunday which shortened our caller’s deadline to file a Georgia lien to Friday–87 days from the date he last worked on the project!

Practical Tip # 1: It may help you to think of the filing deadline in the following manner:  all mechanics and materialmen’s liens in Georgia must be filed on or before the 89th day from the last day in which the lien claimant performed services or supplied materials to the project (and neither holidays nor weekends extend this deadline.)

This week, we also had a potential lien claimant who just finished his work on a construction project in Georgia, but he had not been paid.  He wanted to file a materialmen’s lien as soon as possible.  And, that is his legal right.  This leads us to the question, When should someone who is not receiving payment for their labor or materials on a construction project file a lien? Every situation is different–and filing mechanics’ liens should be based upon each unique circumstance–but a general rule of thumb is the soon the better.  There are many, many reasons for this, but here are some of the common reasons for filing your Georgia lien sooner rather than later:

  • filing a mechanic’s lien sooner may give you priority against other creditors or other lien claimants;
  • filing a mechanic’s lien sooner may help you get paid sooner as there may still be retainage on the project (which might be paid to you);
  • filing a mechanic’s lien sooner will prevent problems such as missing any deadlines;
  • filing a mechanic’s lien sooner will give the attorney filing the construction lien time to do it in his regular course of business (no rush fees!)
  • filing a mechanic’s lien sooner can lower your costs–liens can be mailed to the court, for example, rather than being sent by courier or overnight delivery;
  • as a rule of thumb, the sooner you begin exercising your right to file a lien, the sooner, you’ll get paid.

Practical Tip # 2: Don’t wait until the last minute to file a construction lien in the State of Georgia; instead, file it as soon as you realize that you may not get paid.

The Cobb Law Group focuses its practice on filing and perfecting every type of construction lien throughout the entire state.  If you have any questions, please contact us.  Also, please leave comments about your experiences with meeting lien filing deadlines.

How Do I Remove a Mechanic’s Lien from my Georgia Property?

Posted in Materilamen's Liens,Notice of Action by Administrator on the February 9th, 2012

How do I get a materialmen’s lien removed from my real estate title?  Before we address this great question, let me ask whether this question helps us predict the future economy:

Economic Recovery?  Before the current economic disaster, clients would call and say there was an old mechanic or materialmen’s lien against their property which they wanted to remove; then, when the economic breakdown occurred, we didn’t get many requests for this service due, in part, to the fact that no one was selling their real estate.  Lately, we have been getting more request to void liens in Georgia.  Does this mean people are slowly but surely beginning to sell their real estate?  I hope so!

Since Georgia’s Lien Laws were substantively changed in March 2009, the answer to the real question depends upon the date that the mechanic’s lien was filed.

How to Void Materialmen’s Liens filed before March 31, 2009: If a contractor or supplier filed a mechanics or materialmen’s lien against real estate prior to March 31, 2009 but he did not perfect his lien rights by (i) filing a lawsuit and (ii) filing a Notice of Action in the real estate records within one (1) year of the last day in which he worked on the construction project, then the real property owner may file a Request to Void Lien with the clerk of court in the county where the construction lien was filed.  In addition, a lawyer must search the county real estate records and certify that a Notice of Action was not filed by the lien claimant.  Prior to filing the Request to Void Lien and the Attorney’s Affidavit, the lien claimant must be sent copies of the documents to be filed.  All in all, it is a fairly straightforward means to have the lien voided, but you must hire a lawyer to assist you with this.  If you need to have a lien removed anywhere in the State of Georgia, please feel free to contact the Cobb Law Group to assist you!

How to Void Materialmen’s Liens filed after March 31, 2009: If a contractor or supplier filed a mechanics or materialmen’s lien against real estate after March 31, 2009, but he did not perfect his lien rights by (i) filing a lawsuit and (ii) filing a Notice of Action in the real estate records within one (1) year of the date that the construction lien was filed, then the lien automatically expires, and you do not need to hire a lawyer or make any requests of the clerk of court.  The Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) § 44-14-367 states:

. . . . . Any lien filed after March 31, 2009, shall include on the face of the lien the following statement in at least 12 point bold font: “This claim of lien expires and is void 395 days from the date of filing of the claim of lien if no notice of commencement of lien action is filed in that time period.” Failure to include such language shall invalidate the lien and prevent it from being filed. No release or voiding of such liens shall be required. . . . . .

If you have any questions, please fee free to contact us at your convenience!

On-line Forms: How To Request a Copy of a Notice of Commencement

Almost every day we receive questions about Georgia’s Notices to Owners and Notices to Contractors (“NTO”).  One of the biggest pitfalls of sending out your own NTO, is that Georgia’s notice requirements mandate that information contained in the NTO must use information contained in the Notice of Commencement filed by the project’s general contractor.

For example, a supplier or subcontractor must send the Notice to Owner at the addresses contained in the Notice of Commencement.  Thus, if the Notice of Commencement lists the job site as the address, but an NTO is sent to the GC’s main office address, your NTO may be defective!  Similarly, if the project is commonly referred to as “ABC Project” and you used that description in your NTO, but the Notice of Commencement calls it “Super Big ABC Project # 292929″, then your NTO may be defective.  Of course, we all know that a defective NTO may prevent your from filing a Mechanic’s Lien in Georgia, making a claim against the payment bond, etc.  This means lost revenues for your company.

One question we get is “How do I obtain a copy of the Notice of Commencement filed by a general contractor in Georgia?”

Now, the Cobb Law Group’s Virtual Construction Law Firm can help you with this.  We have just added the forms which our client’s can use to obtain copies of the Notice of Commencement on private projects, State of Georgia construction projects, and local government projects in Georgia.

To find these forms and other useful documents, click on Cobb Law Group Virtual Law Firm;

To learn more about our unbundled legal services, click here;

To access our online construction documents for Georgia including the Notice of Commencement, please click here > >

Please try our out online legal forms and let us know what you think!

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Post-Judgment Collection: How Do I Collect on a Judgment Lien in Georgia?

Posted in Commercial Collections,Creditors' Rights,Post-Judgment Collection by Administrator on the February 2nd, 2012

Question: I have a judgment against someone who owes me money; how can I collection on this judgment?

That’s a question we hear almost daily around here.  Many law firms will handle a commercial collection matter through judgment, but then they don’t know what to do.  In other words, the typical lawyer will make sure you “win” your lawsuit, but he or she won’t do much to help you collection on the judgment.  To us at the Cobb Law Group, that’s not much of a victory.

We’re different.  We assist our clients will every aspect of their collection issues–from filing mechanic’s liens or making a payment bond claim to filing a lawsuit, preparing a foreclosure, securing a judgment, and pursuing post-judgment collection activities.

Even if we didn’t represent you in the law suit you won, we also help those with outstanding judgments collect against those judgments throughout the State of Georgia.

There are several steps a creditor a creditor should consider if they have a judgment.

First, if you have been awarded a judgment against another party in Georgia, it is vital to make sure that the court has issued (and recorded) a Writ of Fieri Facias which is commonly referred as a FiFa in Georgia.  This Writ or FiFa is a judgment lien which attaches to all of the defendant’s property in the State of Georgia.  Some courts issue a FiFa immediately upon granting judgment; however, many require a written request and a $5.00 or $7.00 fee.  Thus, if you have a Georgia judgment, make sure the FiFa has been issued.

Second, record the original FiFa in each and every county where you think the entity who owes you money owns any assets.  For our clients, for example, we search real estate ownership throughout Georgia and record the FiFa in every county where the debtor owns real estate.  That way, if the debtor attempts to transfer any real estate or attempts to refinance any real estate, then your recorded FiFa may lead to payment of the debt.

Third, if you can identify a bank account which is owned by the debtor, then it may be possible to file a Summons of Garnishment against that bank account; similarly, if the debtor is an individual who is employed, then you may be able to garnish up to 25% of his or her wages.  Garnishments in Georgia can be a very effective means of collection your judgment.  Lately, we have been fortunate to garnish current construction projects in order to collect judgments rendered against subcontractors.  Remeber to think creatively as garnishments can often be filed against anyone who owes your debtor money (including credit card companies, employers, tenants, etc.) ; be careful, however, as Georgia does not allow garnishment against all assets (such as retirement account, child suppert, etc.) so check with your lawyer before filing attempting a garnishment.

In addition to gerniahsment, there are several other great options available to the post-judgment creditor.  For example, we frequently, use post-judgment discovery to assist us with locating and identifying a debtor’s assets.  We use such techniques as depositions, written interrogatories, and third-party discovery to help us locate assets in Georgia and collection on the judgment.

If you have a judgment against somebody, don’t let it sit there gathering dust; contact us to see if we can help you find the money that you are owed.