Defending a Mechanic’s Lien in Georgia

Hiring a contractor for a home remodel or repair can be at the same time a rewarding and troublesome experience.  On one hand, finally updating that kitchen that looks twenty years overdue is an exciting notion.  On the other, no two contractors are created equal, and often times it seems like most people make the wrong choice.

So what happens when a contractor does a subpar job on your home project, but still expects payment even though it may not be what you contracted for?  Negotiating with the contractor to complete to expectations is one option and negotiating the price down another, but what happens when the two sides simply do not see eye to eye?

All too often in these cases, the contractor files a Mechanic’s Lien on the homeowner’s property.  This legal mechanism offers the contractor a “security” in the home to compel payment by the homeowner.  The lien works to effectively cloud the title in the home, and the law requires that the lien be resolved before the homeowner transfers title of the property.

This legal mechanism works as intended when a contractor successfully delivers on a project for a homeowner and that homeowner simply is not willing to pay.  Other times however, innocent homeowners find themselves battling a lien when it was the contractor who did not meet the terms of the contract.

Although this is never something to look forward to, the filing of a lien does not automatically mean that you must pay the contractor what they demand.  Lien law in Georgia can be quite complicated, and often times these liens are not filed in a manner in which they attach to the property.  If you have recently become aware of a lien filed on your property, check to ensure that all of the following requirements have been satisfied through the filing of the lien:

  • The builder provided the homeowner a preliminary lien notice within a specified number of days of beginning work or delivering materials
  • The mechanics’ lien contained a minimum amount of detail about the debt (the amount, the scope of the services for which payment is due, the homeowner’s name and address, and so forth)
  • The lien was filed with the local county court or registrar of deeds within 90 days of the completion of work.

If these elements are not satisfied, then the lien is void.  If the lien filer did follow all of these steps, their work is still not done.  In order to perfect the lien, or have it fully attach to the property, the filer must commence suit within 365 days of filing the lien.  A failure to do so automatically voids the lien.  Let’s assume that the contractor satisfies all of these steps, now what?

When a contractor commences suit to perfect the lien, it operates similarly to any other lawsuit.  There is a complaint filed, and the defendant is allowed time to answer.  Then commences discovery and the actual hearing.  This presents both sides with another opportunity to settle the matter outside of court, however at this stage it is likely that both parties are entrenched in their position, and the contractor has paid considerable money in the enforcement of the lien by this stage.

By disputing the claim in the lien, you are effectively stating that what the contractor claims is not true.  Was the quality of workmanship subpar, were the materials not the same as agreed upon, or did the contractor not meet other material provisions of the contract?  It is advised that you retain all documentation pertaining to the contract and speak with a qualified attorney who can advocate on your behalf to protect your rights.

If you are experiencing a lien issue on your home and the contents of the lien are under dispute, give us a call!  Thrift & McLemore’s attorneys have many years’ experience in both filing and defending liens, and will fight to get you the recourse that you deserve.  Contact Thrift & McLemore by email at [email protected] or by phone at 678-784-4150.

Suing for Latent Defects in a Home Purchase in Georgia

Purchasing a home may be one of the most rewarding, yet terrifying transactions that a consumer can make in their lifetime.  It is universally understood for many of us that it is the single largest purchase we will ever make.  A commitment this large can make even the most self-assured buyer uneasy. 

Obvious defects in a home are not as worrisome in this case, as cracked walls and non-working electricity are straightforward to diagnose.  Issues that are less obvious are the ones that keep the would be purchaser up late at night.  These issues are referred to as “latent defects”.  Latent defects are those problems with property that are not visible to the naked eye.  These issues can be wide ranging, like asbestos in older homes, corroded piping that leads to a plumbing leak, or carbon monoxide leaking into the home.

In Georgia, like many states, the seller is required to provide disclosures of all known defects, obvious or not.  The purpose is to inform the cautious buyer of any issues that they may incur, and to avoid purchasing a home with such defects that they will have to fix.  Of course, while this is the law, this is not always followed to the extent a purchaser would like.

What happens when you have bought a home, only to find that latent defects exist and the seller failed to inform you?  While it is an uphill battle, you certainly do have options.  While you cannot seek remedy from everyone involved, there are a select few parties you can seek recourse from:

The Seller – As mentioned above, the seller in Georgia is required to provide disclosures on the home.  This disclosure requires the seller to provide a list of defects on the home that they are aware of, but may not be obvious.  While a seller may later deny that they knew about this, patchwork on drywall found after purchase where a leak has formed is an obvious sign that the seller knew there was an issue.

The Sellers agent – similar to the seller, the agent must disclose when asked of any defects on the home, and while their duties are limited, depending on the circumstances they may be on the hook as well.

The home inspector – While Georgia does not require inspections on the purchase of a home, a prudent purchaser will always have one conducted.  The inspector is a trained individual, who is well versed in home construction and accordingly has a higher aptitude for uncovering these issues.  Depending on the issue, a home inspector may be liable for missing it in their inspection of the home.

So now, you have a latent defect, and there is a responsibility for the parties that have not been met, but do you have a case?  There are certain conditions that need to be met before you can proceed. 

Was the defect there before you bought the home?  General wear and tear on the home is not actionable if the loss merely occurs under your ownership, however if the condition was pre-existing then you should be ok to proceed.  Is it a non-obvious defect that was not disclosed, but a prior party was aware of?  In the example above, plumbing may not always be an obvious issue, but if you later find steps have been taken to repair and conceal, and you relied on the non-disclosure of those parties, this condition will have been met.  Finally, the harmed purchaser must prove damages.  Is there an actual cost of repair, or a decrease in the home’s value as a result of the defect?  This will be what your claim in a lawsuit amounts to.

There are a number of legal theories that you can bring against the responsible parties depending on the situation.  It is recommended to review your case with a qualified attorney beforehand to ensure you are bringing an action on the correct theory.  Some of these claims include failure to disclose, negligence, fraud, breach of contract, breach of warranty, and negligent misrepresentation.

If you have recently purchased a home and discover a latent defect, but are unsure of your options, give us a call!  Thrift & McLemore’s attorneys pride themselves on their expertise in the real estate law arena and will fight to get you the recourse that you deserve.  Contact Thrift & McLemore by email at [email protected] or by phone at 678-784-4150.

Freddie Mac will now allow conventional financing for manufactured housing (Credit: Ben Lane HW)

GSE rolls out new manufactured housing financing

Freddie Mac will soon see no difference between certain manufactured homes and traditional single-family housing from a financing standpoint.  The government-sponsored enterprise announced Friday that it is rolling out a new financing program for manufactured housing that will bring conventional financing to factory-built housing.

The program, which is called CHOICEHome, is a two-year pilot that will allow for conventional financing for certain manufactured homes. The homes that will be eligible for the program have features like permanent foundations and pitched roofs.

Many of these homes also come with energy-saving features like Energy Star Qualified Low-E windows, programmable thermostats and minimum insulation values.

According to Freddie Mac, it will treat loans secured by CHOICEHome like loans that are secured by single-family site-built homes.

“If a factory-built home meets certain specifications, it will be granted a CHOICEHome certification and will be eligible for CHOICEHome financing,” Freddie Mac said, adding that its loan products HomeOne and Home Possible will be available for manufactured housing.

Additionally, Freddie Mac said that appraisers will be able to use site-built housing as a comparable for valuation.

The program is part of Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve plan, which focuses on supporting underserved markets by financing more rural and manufactured housing and preserving more affordable housing for homebuyers and renters nationwide.

“Today’s manufactured homes can deliver outstanding quality at prices that are up to 50% less per square foot than conventional site-built homes,” Freddie Mac noted. “These savings can enable more Americans to own their own home, even in the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap.”

According to Freddie Mac, to meet the CHOICEHome eligibility requirements, manufacturers and lenders must follow Department of Housing and Urban Development-code guidelines for the construction and siting of the home in order, and lenders must follow local and state guidelines for manufactured housing titled as real property.

“Finding a home is more difficult than ever because of the ongoing housing supply shortage in many parts of the country, especially when looking for a home at a lower price point,” said Mike Dawson, vice president of Single-Family Affordable Lending Strategy and Policy at Freddie Mac.

“Currently there are more than 22 million families living in factory-built housing, and with that number expected to grow, there’s an opportunity for factory-built homes to address the housing supply shortage and quality housing overall,” Dawson added. “This new generation of manufactured housing might just be the best option for first-time homebuyers, Millennials, and empty-nesters looking to downsize.”

(Credit: Ben Lane HW)

If you have questions regarding manufactured housing finance, let us help!  Thrift & McLemore’s attorneys have assisted numerous companies and individuals in this legal field.   Contact Thrift & McLemore by email at [email protected] or by phone at 678-784-4150 to discuss how we can help you.

Porsche’s Airport Hotel Is Pampering Dogs with Dinner and Drinks (Credit: Eater Atlanta)

Solis Two Porsche Drive hotel and Apron restaurant are going the extra mile with their menu offerings for dogs flying the friendly skies

Porsche’s posh Solis Two Porsche Drive hotel located at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport now offers “Sit, Stay, Solis” for guests traveling with their dogs. The Porsche Experience Center hotel provides an in-room dog bed, a dedicated dinner menu, and even a happy hour for dogs at Apron restaurant.

Upon check-in, guests traveling with their dogs will receive a dog bed, crate, and food and water bowls to keep their canines comfortable in their hotel rooms. Owners can then take their pups down to Apron’s dog-friendly patio for a special menu developed by executive chef Derrick Green with treats, ice cream, and “pupsicles.”

Once a month, Apron is hosting “Puptails on the Pawtio” where dogs are treated to grooming and training sessions while their owners listen to guest speakers and attend book signings. On-site adoptions days are also in the works. The next dog adoption day is scheduled for Saturday, August 18 with Lifeline Animal Project.

A $75 non-refundable pet fee is required upon check-in at the hotel. There is no weight limit for dogs staying at Solis Two Porsche Drive. Sorry, only two pets per room.

https://atlanta.eater.com/2018/7/23/17602122/two-solis-porsche-drive-dog-friendly-menu-atlanta

First Solis Hotel in U.S. to Debut at Atlanta Porsche Campus

ATLANTA GA – The 214-room Solis Two Porsche Drive — Solis Hotels and Resort’s first U.S. property — will debut in late 2017, adjacent to the Porsche Cars North America Atlanta campus, just north of the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Solis brand is part of Capella Hotel Group’s portfolio.

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