Filing a Bond Claim in Georgia
It’s no secret that in construction, sometimes, the only thing harder than the work itself is getting paid for it. Any number of reasons can be used by prime contractors or project owners to avoid paying you your due wages, and the rules governing how you get paid can vary based on where the project is taking place. State bond claim laws can differ from one another quite drastically, so to avoid having your pay unjustly withheld, it’s crucial to understand the bond claim filing process and the Georgia payment bond laws that protect you.
Bond Claim Process Differences in Georgia
Making a claim against a payment bond isn’t all that dissimilar from filing a mechanic’s lien. Georgia lien law and bond law both require you to stay on top of a series of preliminary notices, forms, and filing deadlines or else you may forfeit the right to your payment. But where do you start with filing a bond claim in Georgia, and what sets Georgia apart from other states?
A preliminary notice is sent at the beginning of a project in order to secure one’s right to make a claim against a payment bond later if that need should arise. However, these notices are not always required, and when they are, they have to be sent in by a specific deadline. It’s easy to see how these notices can cause some confusion and prevent someone from receiving their payment. Our communication and bond claim document management platform helps to alleviate some of the stress of filing a bond claim.
Figuring out whether or not you need to send a preliminary notice in Georgia starts with the type of project you’re working on. When working on a private project, you are required to send a preliminary notice to the owner and prime contractor within 30 days of beginning work. This notice for private projects is referred to as a Georgia preliminary notice of lien rights. However, this is only the case if the project owners filed a notice of commencement. If they haven’t, filing a preliminary notice is not required.
On public projects, the preliminary notice is only required for those who have not directly contracted with the prime contractor. As with private projects, the Georgia payment bond statute of limitations states that this notice must be filed within 30 days of the start of your work.
Making the Claim and Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a preliminary notice just secures the right to make a claim; it isn’t the claim itself. The claim only comes about later should the prime contractor refuse to make payment. As in other states, certain deadlines must be observed in order for your claim to be valid.
In Georgia, claimants are given 90 days from their last day of supplying labor or materials to a project to make their claim. Claims made after the 90-day limit has expired are likely to be rejected and result in you not receiving pay for the work you did.
It is also important to note how to properly file a claim. Georgia law states that all claims must be sent to the prime contractor through certified or registered mail so there is a record of it. The claim should include the amount you’re owed and information on the party refusing payment. Though it is required to send the claim to the contractor, it’s also a smart decision to send any claims to the appropriate surety bond companies in Georgia as well. Doing so can help strengthen your claim.
Should you make your claim and still not receive payment, the next step would be to file a lawsuit. Georgia law stipulates that any such lawsuit must be brought about no more than one year after the project is finished. Lawsuits don’t guarantee payment, so they should only be used as a last-ditch effort.
Frequently Asked Questions About Georgia Bond Claims and Liens
How Do You File a Lien in Georgia?
The process for filing a contractor lien or a mechanic’s lien in Georgia is relatively simple and straightforward. First, you’ll have to fill out the proper Georgia notice of intent to lien form. Then, you must record the claim with the county clerk’s office before serving the lien to the property owner.
How Much Does it Cost to File a Lien in Georgia?
Filing a Georgia mechanic’s lien form or contractor lien form usually requires a $5 to $10 recording fee.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lien in Georgia?
The Georgia mechanic’s lien statute of limitations requires a contractor to file a lien within 90 days of the last day you supplied labor or materials to a project.
Can an Unlicensed Contractor File a Lien in Georgia?
No. If a project requires the contractor to be licensed, then any unlicensed contractor providing labor or materials will be unable to file a lien against the project.
How Do You Remove a Mechanic’s Lien in Georgia?
To initiate a release of lien, Georgia claimants can file a Georgia contractor lien release form. State law also stipulates that a mechanic’s lien will automatically become invalid one year after filing.
How Do You Get Bonded in Georgia?
In order to become bonded, you must contact either an insurance company or a surety bond company and make sure that you meet the Georgia surety bond requirements. You will then apply for the bond and have an underwriter evaluate your risk. Should they agree to provide you with a bond, then you simply have to pay for it and you will be bonded.