Construction Law | Residential | Commercial | Home Improvement | Contractor Sub Payment Act | Mechanic’s Liens

Residential and commerical construction disputes - sm

Time Period to Perfect
The time limits to file a claim or to serve notice are  based on the date of completion of the claimant’s  work, not from the date of completion of the entire  project. The work is complete when the claimant has  performed the last of the labor or delivered the last of  the materials required by the terms of the claimant’s  contract.

In Pennsylvania, lien rights extend to general  contractors, subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors  (contractors and suppliers who have a direct contract  with subcontractors).

The first notice to an owner is due 30 days before the  lien claim is filed for subcontractors and  sub-subcontractors. For all claimants, the lien claim  must be filed in court within six months of the  claimant’s last work. Within one month after the  initial claim filing, written notice of the filing of the lien  must be served on the owner. An affidavit of service  then must be filed with the court within twenty days  after service of the written notice to the owner. After  these requirements are met, however, no further  action is necessary for two years. This usually means  a contractor can inexpensively preserve rights.

Deadlines:
Formal Notice—All subcontractors and  sub-subcontractors must serve a Formal Notice of  Intention to file a lien on the owner at least 30 days  before actually filing a mechanic’s lien claim.
Lien Claim—All claimants must file a Lien Claim in the  department of court records (court filing office) within  six months of completion of that party’s work (or last  day on the job) and serve notice of the lien claim on  owner within one month after that. An affidavit of  service then must be filed with the court within  twenty days after service of the written notice on the  owner.
Enforcement. All claimants must enforce by filing an  actual lawsuit in support of the lien within two years  of Lien Claim filing. The claimant may also file a  separate and additional lawsuit for a money judgment  against the property owner and/or contractor.

Claimants cannot supply bogus materials or labor to a  contract for the purpose of extending the time to file a  claim

Bottom Line
The claimant seeking to obtain a lien must act  quickly. By the same token, the party defending the  lien must be aware of the deadlines as a basis to  challenge an otherwise legitimate lien.

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