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What are mechanic’s lien enforcement procedures?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Business Disputes

A mechanic’s lien helps contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers secure payment for work done or materials provided in construction projects. Understanding the enforcement procedures is necessary for successfully claiming the owed amount. 

The steps for enforcing a mechanic’s lien in Pennsylvania include specific timelines and legal actions to take.

Filing a mechanic’s lien

The first step involves filing a mechanic’s lien. The claimant must file the lien within six months of the last day they provided labor or materials. This filing occurs in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the property is located. The lien must include specific details, such as the amount owed, the property description, and the name of the property owner.

Serving notice to the owner

After filing the lien, the claimant must serve notice to the property owner within one month of filing the lien. The notice should inform the owner about the lien’s existence and the amount claimed. Proper service of notice ensures the owner is aware of the claim and prevents disputes about notification later.

Initiating a lawsuit

To enforce the lien, the claimant must file a lawsuit within two years of the lien’s filing date. The lawsuit aims to prove the validity of the lien and secure a judgment for the owed amount. The claimant should gather all relevant documentation, such as contracts, invoices, and proof of delivered materials, to support their case.

Court proceedings and judgment

During court proceedings, both parties present their evidence and arguments. The court then determines whether the lien is valid and the amount owed. If the court rules in favor of the claimant, it will issue a judgment. This judgment allows the claimant to take further steps to collect the debt.

Collecting the judgment

Once the court issues a judgment, the claimant can take steps to collect the debt. This may involve garnishing the property owner’s bank accounts, placing a levy on their property, or other legal means. Successfully collecting the judgment ensures the claimant receives the payment owed for their work or materials.

Final steps and release

After collecting the debt, the claimant should file a satisfaction of judgment with the court. This filing officially releases the lien from the property and closes the case. Properly following these steps ensures the mechanic’s lien enforcement process is effective and legally sound.