A Georgia Preliminary Notice of Lien differs substantially from a Georgia Materialmen’s Lien. For over twenty five years, the lien lawyers at the Cobb Law Group have represented construction professionals including prime contractors, specialty trade subcontractors, and suppliers with their materialmen liens and payment bond claims throughout the state of Georgia; our construction attorneys understand the particular needs of our clients who work on Georgia construction projects. For example, we understand that our clients must balance their legal objectives with business decisions; similarly, the steps they must undertake to preserve and enforce their lien rights sometimes conflict with their business relationships and opportunities, and, of course, their legal costs. In other words, when you need to hire a lawyer, you need to be hiring a strategic partner who will work with your business.
If your business is working on either private projects or public works projects anywhere in Georgia, you have rights (and obligations) that will help insure you receive payment for the services, but not every opportunity is appropriate in every legal situation so it is very important to consult with experienced lien lawyers who can review your unique scenario and offer reasonable and cost-efficient solutions to you.
Georgia’s Preliminary Notice of Lien (which is sometimes referred to as a “Preliminary Lien” or “Pre-Lien”) can be a very useful tool to subcontractors and suppliers if it is used properly; however, it is a vehicle which is not often utilized because so few businesses understand the benefits much less the legal filing requirements of a valid Preliminary Notice of Lien.
As with every aspect of Georgia’s Lien Laws, the requirements of a Preliminary Notice of Lien must be strictly construed by the business filing it; these preliminary liens may be considered a type of pseudo-lien and must be filed by a subcontractor, laborer, material supplier within 30 days of the first-day in which the claimant provided any material, labor or service for which a materialmen’s lien may later be claimed. Many lien claimants do not realize that a properly filed preliminary lien is not the same as a mechanics or materialmen’s lien under Georgia law; in fact, the preliminary lien automatically expires within 90 days of the last day in which the materials were delivered or the labor or services where provided on the project.
Thus, if a preliminary lien claimant has not received payment prior to the expiration of the preliminary lien, then that same lien claimant must also file a valid mechanics or materialmen’s lien (within 90 days of the last day in which the lien claimant was actually on the job-site or provided materials to the job-site). If the lien claimant fails to timely file it’s valid claim of lien, then it’s lien rights are extinguished regardless of the filing of the preliminary notice of lien. Thus, a subcontractor or supplier may have to file both a Georgia Preliminary Notice of Lien within thirty days of their first day on the job; and, if necessary, file a Georgia Materialmen’s Lien within ninety days of the last day they were on the job (or 60 days from the date of a valid, Georgia wavier of lien).
We regularly recommend that our clients file Preliminary Notices of Liens for several reasons; two of the most important reasons for filing a preliminary lien in Georgia are as follows:
- they increase the preliminary lien claimant’s likelihood of recovery of the money they are owed on the construction project; and
- they protect a potential lien claimant from lien dissolution affidavits filed by the project’s general contractors; in fact, in the event that the a lien dissolution affidavit is executed by the contractor, the filing of a pre-lien shifts the burden of proof to make sure that the lien claimant receives its money to the project owner.
As you can tell from this brief overview of Georgia’s Preliminary Notice of Lien Statutes, every detail must be observed, and it is important to engage the services of an experienced Georgia construction lawyer who understands the opportunities, pitfalls and your business objectives to help you obtain the results you desire. Please contact the Cobb Law Group if you have any questions regarding filing liens or pre-liens anywhere in Georgia. Feel free to contact any of our construction lawyers or our staff if you have any questions regarding the our vaious construction practice areas including the following:
- Preserving your right to file a construction lien
- Notice to Contractor/ NTOs
- Georgia Preliminary Liens
- Affidavits to Dissolve Liens
- Mechanics and Materialmen’s Liens
- Enforcement and Foreclosure of Liens in Georgia
We are lien attorneys working throughout the state of Georgia; allow the Cobb Law Group to assist you with all of your lien needs throughout Georgia.