What happens if a contractor records a lien waiver, but the owner never pays the bill?
Best practices dictate that lien claimants should only grant waivers when payment can be verified. Even so, some claimants still choose to execute a waiver before that time. Unlike many other states, Georgia law provides an avenue for recourse: the Affidavit of Non-Payment. An affidavit of non-payment is a sworn statement filed with the county recorder after a lien waiver has already been filed but no payment was ever received.
When executed, a waiver and release of lien is considered binding against the claimant for all purposes, subject only to payment in full of the amount set forth in the waiver and release. 44-14-366(f)(1). This means if payment is never received, the waiver is considered ineffective. Note that, in order to declare the waiver void, the claimant must file an affidavit of non-payment.
An affidavit of non-payment identifies the parties, the nature of work and materials provided, the location of the improvements, the amount unpaid, and the recording information for the waiver. The affiant/claimant signs the document in front of two witnesses, one of whom must be a notary, then submits the completed affidavit to the same office that recorded the original lien and waiver.
The affidavit must be filed sixty days after the date of the execution of the waiver and release. 44-14-366(f)(2)(C). There's an exception to this requirement if the claimant files their lien claim prior to the expiration of the 60-day period. Id.
This article is offered for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as the substitute for the advice of an attorney. Please contact an attorney with questions about Affidavits of Non-payment or any other issues related to mechanic's liens in Georgia.
Deeds.com Georgia Affidavit of Non Payment Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday May 16, 2019
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