How to Address a Lien on Property in Georgia


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What Is a Property Lien?

Do you want to know more about a lien on a property in Georgia? This article will provide you with all you need as far as property lien is concerned.

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Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on June 27, 2022.

Dealing with the legal aspects of the transfer of ownership of real property is difficult enough without the added challenge of a judgment lien.

You need a clear title to sell or refinance your home or commercial property. If a lien is recorded against your property, it will be registered as an official “cloud on the title.” This means that you cannot sell or refinance until the lien is removed.

A lien is a legal claim that one party has on the property of another for payment of a debt. Loans, failed payments for services, judicial judgments, or statutory fees, such as property taxes, create lien rights.

A lien can be filed on any property in Georgia, including real estate like residential and commercial properties, cars, and personal property.

When filing a lien on real estate in Georgia, specific steps and forms must be completed, which can be confusing.

The importance of understanding liens and lien priority cannot be overstated, especially if you own real estate. Experienced real estate counsel can answer any questions you have about liens. Ensure you seek assistance from a reputable attorney familiar with Georgia lien law.

Categories of Georgia Property Liens

A lien can either be general or specific. A general lien is a claim a lien claimant has against some or all of a debtor’s personal property. Any property may be sold to satisfy the debt. Conversely, a specific lien is attached to a particular asset offered as collateral in exchange for a loan.

In addition to liens being general and specific, they are either voluntary (consensual) or involuntary (non-consensual). 

Voluntary Liens

Voluntary liens are created by mutual agreement. Typical examples are mortgages on homes or liens placed on financed cars. Voluntary liens can be placed on homes, cars, boats, appliances, and valuable art. 


Involuntary Liens

Involuntary liens are placed against the owner’s will by an outside authority. Regulatory authorities like state and federal governments or courts typically place an involuntary lien on a property rather than lenders.

Tax liens and judgment liens are the most common example of involuntary general liens. Assets that can be involuntarily encumbered include houses, bank accounts, vehicles, appliances, valuable art, or any other personal property the borrower may own. 

Categories of Georgia Property Liens

Types of Liens

There are three types of liens available for legal claims in Georgia, these are:

  • Judgment liens – In a civil suit, a court judgment gives the creditor the right to a certain amount of money from the proceeds of the sale of the debtor’s property, ensuring that they receive their money.

  • Mechanics’ liens – A mechanic’s lien is a legal document reserved for someone entitled to seek compensation if the person who commissioned the works, usually property owners and contractors, fails to pay them.

  • Tax liens State tax liens are filed with the state government when an individual or business fails to pay state taxes. The IRS can also impose a tax lien as security for your obligation to pay a tax debt.

You can find out if there are any liens by searching online for the public records for your county or city or getting assistance from your local county recorder’s office.

Types of Liens

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Liens in Georgia?

Georgia lien statutes require that lien claimants enforce their liens against a property owner within 365 days of filing. They have 30 days to file a notice of commencement of such lien action with the clerk of the superior court in the county where you filed the subject lien.

A mechanics lien must be filed within 90 days after the project’s last furnishing labor or materials date.

Liens in Georgia cannot be extended. Should the claim not be submitted by the deadline, the lien will expire, and the claim will no longer be valid. If you need additional help, contact a real estate lawyer for more legal resources


How Long Does a Property Lien Last in Georgia?

Property liens vary in duration depending on the type of lien and how it was created. The Georgia judgment lien remains on the debtor’s property for seven years, even if the property changes hands.

How to Create a Lien on Someones Property in Georgia

How to Create a Lien on Someone’s Property in Georgia

In Georgia, there are two ways to put a lien on someone’s property. The first is by filing for a Notice of Lien. This process is usually used when there is a payment dispute, or the work was not completed satisfactorily.

The second way to put a lien on someone’s property in Georgia is by filing for an Abstract of Judgment. This process is typically used when there is no dispute over payment and the work has been completed satisfactorily.

After lien claimants file such a lien on the property of another, according to Georgia law, the notice of commencement may be sent to the property’s legal owners via registered or certified mail. Upon receipt, the lien attaches to the property until the debt is satisfied or the lien expires.

Hire an estate planning lawyer to help you navigate the legal system when creating a lien on someone’s property in Georgia. An experienced lawyer can provide the guidelines to ensure the lien is properly placed and enforced. This will ensure that the creditor’s security interest is maintained and all debts are paid in full.

How to Get Rid of a Lien on My Property in Georgia

How to Get Rid of a Lien on My Property in Georgia


Removing a claim of lien can be a long and complicated process. The following options are available to you, however:

  1. Negotiations with the creditor: A settlement can be reached through arbitration, mediation, or informal discussions.
  2. Pay your debt: You would need to file a Release of Lien form as evidence of the paid debt.
  3. Court order: Removing the lien through a court order is possible if the lien was placed illegally through fraud, coercion, bad faith, etc. Ensure that you have evidence proving the illegality.
  4. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Only certain types of liens, such as judicial liens, are eligible for Chapter 7, and they may only be enforced for a limited period.
  5. Expiry: Allow it to run out. If the statute of limitations has expired, the lien can be removed and viewed as unenforceable.

Consult with a trustworthy property attorney to review any legal documents that need to be filed or handled before you remove the lien.

Does a Lien on a Property Affect the Buyer?

Yes. A lien on the property could affect the buyer in several ways. It can create a cloud on the title. Legally, it is the responsibility of the buyer to satisfy any liens on their property. The lien could also restrict the buyer’s ability to use or transfer the property until it has been removed.

When considering purchasing a property with a lien, it is crucial to understand the terms of the lien and the amount owed. If there is no way for the buyer to pay the lien, it is best to look for another property.

When considering purchasing a property with a lien, the best way to protect yourself is to hire a real estate lawyer. A real estate lawyer will help you understand the legal implications of a lien, what steps are needed to remove the lien, and any other pertinent information.

Hiring an Experienced Estate Lawyer for Property Liens in Georgia

You must retain adequate legal representation if your property is subject to a lien or if you want to impose a lien on a debtor. A reputable law firm will provide you with expert legal advice by establishing a solid attorney-client relationship. 

Reputable attorneys from Perigon Legal Services can be instrumental in lien action cases. Contact us today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you with your lien matter.

Hiring an Experienced Estate Lawyer for Property Liens in Georgia

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