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Georgia Construction Mechanic's & Materialmen's Liens

O.C.G.A. 44-14-361 through 44-14-361.5

44-14-361.

(a) The following persons shall each have a special lien on the real estate, factories, railroads, or other property for which they furnish labor, services, or materials:

(1) All mechanics of every sort who have taken no personal security 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.

(b) Each special lien specified in subsection (a) of this Code section may attach to the real estate for which the labor, services, or materials were furnished if they are furnished at instance of the owner, contractor, or some person acting for the owner or contractor.

44-14-361.1.

(a) To make good the liens specified in paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-14-361, they must be created and declared in accordance with the following provisions, and on failure of any of them the lien shall not be effective or enforceable:

(1) A substantial compliance by the party claiming the lien with his contract for building, repairing, or improving; for architectural services furnished; for registered forester services furnished or performed; for registered land surveying or registered professional engineering services furnished or performed; or for materials or machinery furnished or set up;

(2) The filing for record of his claim of lien within three months after the completion of the work, the furnishing of the architectural services, or the furnishing or performing of such surveying or engineering services or within three months after the material or machinery is furnished in the office of the clerk of the superior court of the county where the property is located, which claim shall be in substance as follows:

‘A.B., a mechanic, contractor, subcontractor, materialmen, machinist, manufacturer, registered architect, registered forester, registered land surveyor, registered professional engineer, or other person (as the case may be) claims a lien in the amount of (specify the amount claimed) on the house, factory, mill, machinery, or railroad (as the case may be) and the premises or real estate on which it is erected or built, of C.D. (describing the houses, premises, real estate, or railroad), for satisfaction of a claim which became due on (specify the date the claim was due) for building, repairing, improving, or furnishing material (or whatever the claim may be).’

At the time of filing for record of his claim of lien, the lien claimant shall send a copy of the claim of lien by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the owner of the property or the contractor, as the agent of the owner;

(3) The commencement of an action for the recovery of the amount of the partys claim within 12 months from the time the same shall become due. In addition, within 14 days after filing such action, the party claiming the lien shall file a notice with the clerk of the superior court of the county wherein the subject lien was filed. The notice shall contain a caption referring to the then owner of the property against which the lien was filed and referring to a deed or other recorded instrument in the chain of title of the affected property. The notice shall be executed, under oath, by the party claiming the lien or by such partys attorney of record, but failure to execute the notice under oath shall be an amendable defect which may be cured by the party claiming the lien or by such partys attorney without leave of court at any time before entry of the pretrial order and thereafter by leave of court. An amendment of notice pursuant to this Code section shall relate back to the date of filing of the notice. The notice shall identify the court wherein the action is brought; the style and number of the action, including the names of all parties thereto; the date of the filing of the action; and the book and page number of the records of the county wherein the subject lien is recorded in the same manner in which liens specified in Code Section 44-14-361 are filed. The clerk of the superior court shall enter on the subject lien so referred to the book and page on which the notice is recorded and shall index such notice in the name of the then purported owner as shown by the caption contained in such notice. A separate lis pendens notice need not be filed with the commencement of this action; and

(4) In the event any contractor or subcontractor procuring material, architects services, registered foresters services, registered land surveyors services, or registered professional engineers services, labor, or supplies for the building, repairing, or improving of any real estate, building, or other structure shall abscond or die or leave the state within 12 months from the date such services, labor, supplies, or material are furnished to him or her, so that personal jurisdiction cannot be obtained on the contractor or subcontractor in an action for the services, material, labor, or supplies, or if the contractor or subcontractor shall be adjudicated a bankrupt, or if, after the filing of an action, no final judgment can be obtained against him or her for the value of such material, services, labor, or supplies because of his or her death, adjudication in bankruptcy, or the contract between the party claiming the lien and the contractor or subcontractor includes a provision preventing payment to the claimant until after the contractor or the subcontractor has received payment, then and in any of these events, the person or persons furnishing material, services, labor, and supplies shall be relieved of the necessity of filing an action or obtaining judgment against the contractor or subcontractor as a prerequisite to enforcing a lien against the property improved by the contractor or subcontractor. Subject to Code Section 44-14-361, the person or persons furnishing material, services, labor, and supplies may enforce the lien directly against the property so improved in an action against the owner thereof, if filed within 12 months from the time the lien becomes due, with the judgment rendered in any such proceeding to be limited to a judgment in rem against the property improved and to impose no personal liability upon the owner of the property; provided, however, that in such action for recovery, the owner of the real estate improved, who has paid the agreed price or any part of same, may set up the payment in any action brought and prove by competent and relevant evidence that the payments were applied as provided by law, and no judgment shall be rendered against the property improved. Within 14 days after filing such action, the party claiming the lien shall file a notice with the clerk of the superior court of the county wherein the subject lien was filed. The notice shall contain a caption referring to the then owner of the property against which the lien was filed and referring to a deed or other recorded instrument in the chain of title of the affected property. The notice shall be executed, under oath, by the party claiming the lien or by his or her attorney of record. The notice shall identify the court wherein the action is brought; the style and number of the action, including the names of all parties thereto; the date of the filing of the action; and the book and page number of the records of the county wherein the subject lien is recorded in the same manner in which liens specified in Code Section 44-14-361 are filed. The clerk of the superior court shall enter on the subject lien so referred to the book and page on which the notice is recorded and shall index such notice in the name of the then purported owner as shown by the caption contained in such notice. A separate lis pendens notice need not be filed with the commencement of this action.

(b) As between themselves, the liens provided for in Code Section 44-14-361 shall rank according to the date filed; but all of the liens mentioned in this Code section for repairs, building, or furnishing materials or services, upon the same property, shall, as to each other, be of the same date when declared and filed for record within three months after the work is done or before that time.

(c) The liens specified in Code Section 44-14-361 shall be inferior to liens for taxes, to the general and special liens of laborers, to the general lien of landlords of rent when a distress warrant is issued out and levied, to claims for purchase money due persons who have only given bonds for titles, and to other general liens when actual notice of the general lien of landlords and others has been communicated before the work was done or materials or services furnished; but the liens provided for in Code Section 44-14-361 shall be superior to all other liens not excepted by this subsection.

(d) In any proceeding brought by any materialmen, by any mechanic, by any laborer, by any subcontractor, or by any mechanic of any sort employed by any subcontractor or by any materialmen furnishing material to any subcontractor, or by any laborer furnishing labor to any subcontractor, to enforce such a lien, the contractor having a direct contractual relationship with the subcontractor shall not be a necessary party; but he may be made a party. In any proceedings brought by any mechanic employed by any subcontractor, by any materialmen furnishing material to any subcontractor, or by any laborer furnishing labor to any subcontractor, the subcontractor shall not be a necessary party; but he may be made a party. The contractor or subcontractor or both may intervene in the proceedings at any time before judgment for the purpose of resisting the establishment of the lien or of asserting against the lienor any claim of the contractor or subcontractor growing out of or related to the transaction upon which the asserted lien is based.

(e) In no event shall the aggregate amount of liens set up by Code Section 44-14-361 exceed the contract price of the improvements made or services performed.

44-14-361.2.

(a) The special lien specified in subsection (a) of Code Section 44-14-361 shall be dissolved if the owner, purchaser from owner, or lender providing construction or purchase money or any other loan secured by real estate shows that:

(1) The lien has been waived in writing by lien claimant; or

(2)(A) They or any of them have obtained the sworn written statement of the contractor or person other than the owner at whose instance the labor, services, or materials were furnished, or the owner when conveying title in a bona fide sale or loan transaction, that the agreed price or reasonable value of the labor, services, or materials has been paid or waived in writing by the lien claimant; and

(B) When the sworn written statement was obtained or given as a part of a transaction:

(i) Involving a conveyance of title in a bona fide sale;

(ii) Involving a loan in which the real estate is to secure repayment of the loan; or

(iii) Where final disbursement of the contract price is made by the owner to the contractor

there was not of record, at the time of the settlement of the transaction a valid preliminary notice or claim of lien which had not been previously canceled, dissolved, or expired.

(b) As used in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the term:

(1) ‘Person other than the owner’ shall not include a subcontractor.

(2) ‘Final disbursement’ of the contract price means payment of the agreed price between the owner and contractor for the improvements made upon the real estate or the reasonable value of the labor, services, and materials incorporated in the improvements upon the real estate and shall include payment of the balance of the contract price to an escrow agent.

44-14-361.3.

(a) Prior to filing a claim of lien, a person having a lien under paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-14-361 may at such persons option file a preliminary notice of lien rights. The preliminary notice of lien rights in order to be effective shall:

(1) Be filed with the clerk of superior court of the county in which the real estate is located within 30 days after the date a party delivered any materials or provided any labor or services for which a lien may be claimed;

(2) State the name, address, and telephone number of the potential lien claimant;

(3) State the name and address of the contractor or other person at whose instance the labor, services, or materials were furnished;

(4) State the name of the owner of the real estate and include a description sufficient to identify the real estate against which the lien is or may be claimed; and

(5) Include a general description of the labor, services, or materials furnished or to be furnished.

(b) A party filing a preliminary notice of lien rights except a contractor shall, within seven days of filing the notice, send by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery a copy of the notice to the contractor on the property named in the notice or to the owner of the property. The lien claimant may rely on the building permit issued on the property for the name of the contractor.

(c) The clerk of each superior court shall maintain within the records of that office a record separate from all other real estate records in which preliminary notices specified in subsection (a) of this Code section and affidavits specified in subsection (c) of Code Section 44-14-361.4 shall be filed. Each such notice and affidavit shall be indexed under the name of the owner as contained in the preliminary notice. The clerk shall collect a filing fee of $5.00 for the filing of each preliminary notice.

(d) A person having a lien under paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-14-361 may enforce the lien without filing a preliminary notice of lien.

44-14-361.4.

(a) A preliminary notice of lien rights filed pursuant to Code Section 44-14-361.3 shall be dissolved if it is canceled and a preliminary notice also expires and is dissolved under any of the following conditions:

(1) The lien has been waived in writing by the lien claimant;

(2) The time has expired for filing the claim of lien as required in Code Section 44-14-361.1;

(3) On residential property, a demand for filing of a claim of lien has been sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the potential lien claimant at the address specified in the preliminary notice of lien rights and at least ten days have elapsed since the date of such mailing without the filing of a claim of lien; or

(4) On all property except residential property, a demand for filing of a claim of lien has been sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the potential lien claimant at the address specified in the preliminary notice of lien rights and at least ten days have elapsed since the date of such mailing without the filing of a claim of lien; provided, however, the demand for filing of a claim of lien shall not be sent until the contractors contract is substantially complete or until the potential lien claimants contract has been terminated or the potential lien claimant has abandoned the contract.

(b) A demand for filing of claim of lien shall contain the same information required to be contained in the preliminary notice of lien rights and shall contain the following statement addressed to the potential lien claimant:

‘This demand was mailed to you on __________ pursuant to Code Section 44-14-361.4. You are notified that unless you file a claim of lien with respect to this claim on or before the tenth day after said date of mailing your right to claim a lien will be dissolved.’

(c) If a demand for filing of a claim of lien is mailed as provided in this Code section and no claim of lien is filed within ten days after said date of mailing, the preliminary notice of lien rights may be canceled as provided in this subsection. In order to obtain cancellation, the person who mailed the demand or his attorney shall file with the clerk of superior court a copy of the demand and his or her affidavit that the demand was mailed as provided in paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section and that ten days have elapsed since said date of mailing without the filing of a claim of lien by the potential lien claimant. Upon such filing, the clerk of superior court shall cancel of record the preliminary notice of lien rights.

44-14-361.5.

(a) To make good the liens specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (6) through (9) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-14-361, any person having a right to a lien who does not have privity of contract with the contractor and is providing labor, services, or materials for the improvement of property shall, within 30 days from the filing of the Notice of Commencement or 30 days following the first delivery of labor, services, or materials to the property, whichever is later, give a written Notice to Contractor as set out in subsection (c) of this Code section to the owner or the agent of the owner and to the contractor for a project on which there has been filed with the clerk of the superior court a Notice of Commencement setting forth therein the information required in subsection (b) of this Code section.

(b) Not later than 15 days after the contractor physically commences work on the property, a Notice of Commencement shall be filed by the owner, the agent of the owner, or by the contractor with the clerk of the superior court in the county in which the project is located. A copy of the Notice of Commencement shall be posted on the project site. The Notice of Commencement shall include:

(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the contractor;

(2) The name and location of the project being constructed and the legal description of the property upon which the improvements are being made;

(3) The name and address of the true owner of the property;

(4) The name and address of the person other than the owner at whose instance the improvements are being made, if not the true owner of the property;

(5) The name and the address of the surety for the performance and payment bonds, if any; and

(6) The name and address of the construction lender, if any.

The contractor shall be required to give a copy of the Notice of Commencement to any subcontractor, materialmen, or person who makes a written request of the contractor. Failure to give a copy of the Notice of Commencement within ten calendar days of receipt of the written request from the subcontractor, materialmen, or person shall render the provision of this Code section inapplicable to the subcontractor, materialmen, or person making the request.

(c) A Notice to Contractor shall be given to the owner or the agent of the owner and to the contractor at the addresses set forth in the Notice of Commencement setting forth:

(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the person providing labor, services, or materials;

(2) The name and address of each person at whose instance the labor, services, or materials are being furnished;

(3) The name of the project and location of the project set forth in the Notice of Commencement; and

(4) A description of the labor, services, or materials being provided and, if known, the contract price or anticipated value of the labor, services, or materials to be provided or the amount claimed to be due, if any.

(d) The failure to file a Notice of Commencement shall render the provisions of this Code section inapplicable. The filing of a Notice of Commencement shall not constitute a cloud, lien, or encumbrance upon or defect to the title of the real property described in the Notice of Commencement, nor shall it alter the aggregate amounts of liens allowable, nor shall it affect the priority of any loan in which the property is to secure payment of the loan filed before or after the Notice of Commencement, nor shall it affect the future advances under any such loan. Nothing contained in this Code section shall affect the provisions of Code Section 44-14-361.2.

(e) The clerk of each superior court shall file the Notice of Commencement within the records of that office and maintain an index separate from other real estate records or an index with the preliminary notices specified in subsection (a) of Code Section 44-14-361.3. Each such Notice of Commencement shall be indexed under the name of the true owner and the contractor as contained in the Notice of Commencement.

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