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Mechanic’s liens 101

| May 21, 2021 | Firm News |

A mechanic’s lien is a legal tool that allows contractors to protect the investment of their time and material to ensure payment. In Georgia, a mechanic’s lien must be filed within 30 days of delivery and enforced within a year.

How to file a lien?

Filing a lien is relatively simple: A craftsman must file a request with a clerk of the superior court naming:

  • Themselves
  • The property owner
  • The location of the property

Once done, the lien gives the mechanic authority to demand payment or debt collection efforts can begin.

Mechanic’s liens are not only for homes

Technically, a mechanic’s lien can be established on any property, from a vehicle to a large commercial machine serviced. Small machine shops that routinely manufacture specialty parts can find it necessary to use a mechanic’s lien to ensure payment. Lumber suppliers may place a mechanics lien on a home if their bills go unpaid.

Why file a lien

Filing a lien against a home is meant to ensure payment. However, there are many reasons that you feel this is a necessary step:

  • The general contractor has missed payments on previous projects
  • There has been disagreement about the bill and rates
  • Other contractors having difficulty with payments with this project

To be sure, filing a lien is an aggressive option and many contractors consider it a move of last resort on projects where they cannot miss a payment.

Is a lien the right option?

As any craftsman knows, sometimes a customer takes time to get their payment. It’s not always malicious, but it certainly causes some tension. If you want to create a long-term relationship with a customer, hoping to service their needs in the future, moving quickly to place a lien on their home is a difficult place to start. However, in that same period, you might see that they intend to pay. It’s hard to know when to use a lien and when to use patience.

You deserve to get paid for your work.