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General Contractors / Design Professionals (if your contract is with the owner): File your Pennsylvania lien within 6 months of last furnishing of labor or materials to the project.
Subcontractors/Suppliers (if your contract is with the prime or another sub): As above, record the Pennsylvania lien within 6 months of completion of your last furnishing labor or materials to the project (your portion of the work).
Where to File? Court of Common Pleas (in county where work / material furnished).
How Long Does it Stay on Record? A mechanics lien in Pennsylvania stays 2 years after recording the lien. A lawsuit to foreclose the lien is then required. We have templates for this.
Who? A mechanic’s lien in Pennsylvania is allowed for General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, renters of equipment, architects, engineers, and land surveyors.
Give Us a Call: If you prefer, for the same price, we will instruct you how to fill-out the Pennsylvania mechanic’s lien form line by line, answer questions, and give a general idea of the chances for success in enforcing the lien. (800-995-9434); (925) 899-8449 (direct line to Bernie).
Mechanics Lien for Pennsylvania Law Summary: For a more detailed discussion of Pennsylvania mechanics liens.
HOW TO FILE A PENNSYLVANIA MECHANIC’S LIEN
Step 1. Fill-out and Print
Complete the PDF “fillable” mechanic’s lien form. It is also re-usable. It automatically captures data and prints out the lien in final form. Extra feature: Keep on your desktop: it is re-usable for other non-paying jobs.
Amount to claim in a Pennsylvania mechanic’s lien: All work/material furnished under the base verbal or written contract plus change orders actually performed, whether signed or not. Finance charges (for example, 2% per month) are allowed only if included in your contract or PO and signed by the other party. If not, you still get pre-judgment interest. But do not include specific finance charges or interest in the amount of your lien; instead express it as a possible add-on at trial. Example: “Mechanic’s lien for the principal amount of $10,550, plus finance charges / pre-judgment interest as allowed by law”. This will be awarded later if you are the prevailing party in the Pennsylvania lien foreclosure suit.
Do not reduce for customer discounts—it is rarely productive when it comes to being paid the final draw and you can actually lose respect in the process. You are not legally bound by initially agreeing to perform work free–this was contingent on being paid. With non-payment, it is no longer legal consideration for a contract modification in which the owner receives a reduced price. Common Example: While performing tenant improvement work on a small shopping center, in a gesture of good faith you furnish the following extras without charge: a) candilever overhang for the store front, b) replacing faux brick veneer panels on the south wall with more expensive limestone, and c) a small retaining wall (including filter fabric, drain rock, and drainage) on the slope above the rear parking lot. You guessed it–you never got paid the last installment on the contract. If you supplied labor only, your Pennsylvania lien will add in the hourly rate under the contract. If labor and material, use cost-plus or T & M amounts in the lien.
Do not include: A mechanics lien in Pennsylvania should never include such maters as: court costs and attorneys’ fees (included later if you win at trial for breach of contract); lost profits if terminated from the job; delay or impact damages; lost time or business the interruption; or anything else not constituting actual labor and materials improving the property.
Note to the wise. Including unauthorized amounts can invalidate a Pennsylvania mechanics lien. Call us if you have any questions.
Step 2. Sign and Notarize
The lien can be signed and verified by by anyone who has knowledge of the general services rendered and the costs incurred. It does not have to be someone in the field—in other words, it can be by office personnel. For example, this could be a manager, bookkeeper, controller, job foreman, project manager, owner, co-owner, or partner. All recorded documents must be notarized.
Step 3. Call the Recorder’s Office
Recording a mechanics lien in Pennsylvania is at the county level. Do a “Google” search for the county in which the project is located. Example: “[Name] County Clerk Recorder Register of Deeds”. It is a good idea to call to verify the fee and recorder’s address. Give them the city where the work was done–sometimes it is filed in different branch offices. If you don’t know the county, Google the city—even small towns have a Wikipedia listing describing the county. Use the cover letter provided. Send the original and one copy with a stamped self-addressed return envelope.
Legal description required? Most counties don’t require it, but if they do, we will look it up for free with any purchase.
Step 4. Mail
Regular mail to the recorder is fine. Pay extra for overnight if close to the filing deadline. If a general contractor, serve the Pennsylvania mechanics lien on the owner with a copy certified mail. If a sub or supplier, serve the owner and general with a copy certified mail. Fill-out and staple as the last page the Proof of Service (it shows proof of mailing to the owner and/or general contractor).
Call us if you have any questions about a mechanics lien in Pennsylvania—we’ll walk you through it. (800) 995-9434; (925) 899-8449.