Atlanta Liens Attorneys – Legal Services
Many industries require services or goods to be supplied before any payment is secured. Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, architects, surveyors, and other professionals identified by the state of Georgia’s statute, often supply goods or services prior to receiving any payment. When conflicts arise, customers may end up withholding the payment for these goods and services. Therefore, these construction professionals and suppliers may utilize liens as a mechanism to initiate the recovery of money and to enforce payment when necessary. A lien can be an especially helpful tool for any small businesses that are dependent on cash flow. Without the ability to place a lien, many small businesses would fall into debt, ultimately filing bankruptcy and going out of business.
An Atlanta lien attorney should and can be an important element of your business if it involves the improvement of real property, as they can prevent many of the misunderstandings and even unethical actions by others that are sometimes part of the business world. The legal team at Hecht Walker, P.C. does more than just represent business owners. We will answer your questions and help you to explore and understand your options for recovering your money and resolving the matter out of court.
At Hecht Walker, P.C., we have several experienced and highly qualified real estate litigation attorneys in Atlanta. Together, we have successfully represented many clients who maintained their contractual obligations and simply wanted the contract honored by the other party.
Can Hecht Walker, P.C. defend against wrongfully filed liens?
Yes. Hecht Walker, P.C. has sound knowledge and experience in defending wrongful liens. Some recorded liens can encumber a property for up to an entire year or longer if action is taken to preserve the lien. This can prevent a business owner from growing his or her business or selling his or her property. Many times, a lien can prevent refinancing and even result in foreclosure.
With the guidance of an experienced lien attorney, many of these problems can be circumvented and avoided. Our attorneys are available to advise you on your lien rights or can step in and enforce and defend against recorded liens.
Do I need a real estate lien attorney to file a lien?
In the state of Georgia, you may file a lien without a real estate lien attorney, though it is not encouraged. There are specific laws and compliance issues that govern the process and the way it unfolds. The state of Georgia’s lien laws are precise, though they can and do change often.
Other states have their own lien laws that must be acknowledged as well. One missed detail can derail your efforts and forfeit your lien rights. For example, Mechanic’s and Materialman’s Liens require the lien holder to file a claim within 90 days of the goods or service last being provided. They also require that you serve the property owner with a notification via certified mail within two days of the lien being filed.
Present laws require liens to be formatted using specific verbiage and even a specific font. Any deviation from the format or omission of the verbiage may invalidate the lienholder’s rights. For this reason, it’s vital that you have an experienced legal team available to represent you and your interests.
Where are liens filed and maintained in the state of Georgia?
Materialmen, mechanic, contractor and supplier liens are all filed and recorded in the Georgia county where the property is located; specifically, they are recorded in the real estate records of the said county.
Do I need a written contract in order to file a lien in the state of Georgia?
Not necessarily. It does strengthen your case if you have a signed contract but it is not required. However, there must be a contractual relationship between you and the property owner, whether directly, or indirectly through an agent of the property owner. For example, if you are performing property improvement services for a tenant, it is important to obtain approval from the landlord owner of the property to ensure the protection of your lien rights.
Generally, if you have sufficient documentation to show that you performed the work and/or that there was a verbal agreement in place, a lien may usually be filed without a written contract.
Do I have to remove the lien after payment is made?
Yes. This is yet another instance where the guidance of a highly trained lien attorney will benefit your efforts and protect your interests as well. Failure to promptly release a lien after payment is made can subject you to legal liability, especially where the paid lien prevents the sale or refinance of any property.
What if I filed a lien and still have not received payment?
A lien is only valid for a certain amount of time, often 365 days from filing, unless legal action is taken against the debtor and proper notices are drafted and recorded in the proper locations. Where a property owner properly drafts and records a Notice of Contest of the lien, the deadline for commencing legal action against the debtor may be substantially shorter. Experienced legal representation is always a wise investment, especially in matters such as these where it’s easy for a person to accidentally ruin their chances of a favorable settlement of the matter.
It is important to realize that a breach of contract claim is different from a lien. Lien rights are against the property not the individual. Thus, even where an Owner pays his/her Contractor in full for a job, he/she can still lose their property in certain situations if the Contractor does not pay his/her subcontractors and suppliers. Lien waivers can be critical to protecting a property owner from unscrupulous or irresponsible contractors and/or subcontractors. Like liens themselves, lien waivers require precise legal working and procedural compliance to be effective
Does it matter if my business is small?
No, the size of the company does not impact the ability to file a lien. If you have sufficient evidence to support your claim, you may be able to successfully file a lien. You may have a multimillion dollar company or a two-man crew. Either way, if you have supplied goods or services and been denied payment, filing a lien may help you recoup financial compensation and protect you as you move forward. The last thing you need is for someone to underestimate your integrity and tenacity because of the fact that you are a small business owner.
The success of any business is based on how well the business is protected. As a business owner, that obligation falls squarely on your shoulders. You have worked hard to create your business. Your success should not rest on the shoulders of another, especially one that has no concept of honoring a contract.
Our attorneys have significant experience in enforcing lien rights as well as defending against them throughout the state of Georgia. We have assisted individuals and multi-million dollar companies affected by wrongfully filed liens, and we have likewise secured payment for contractors, subcontractors and suppliers by filing carefully drafted liens and pursuing enforcement of those liens. Should you need assistance in enforcing your right to payment through a lien or protecting your property rights from improper liens, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at 404-369-3073.
This information was posted on 08-23-2016 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The law changes on a daily basis, and the reader should engage an attorney through a written agreement before taking action in this area of the law.