A Pennsylvania mechanic’s lien allows a contractor or supplier to claim an interest in a property they’ve serviced when the owner hasn’t paid them on time. By placing a lien on the property, the contractor (the “claimant”) attaches the owner’s debt to the property’s public record, making it difficult for the property to be sold or refinanced.
Mechanic’s liens are filed with the local prothonotary, with a written notice served on the owner within one (1) month of the filing date and an affidavit of service filed within twenty (20) days of the service date (§ 1502(a)(2)). Service must be performed by a sheriff, process server, or any competent adult other than the claimant.
Subcontractors only have the right to file a lien under the following circumstances (§ 1301(b)):
- The owner didn’t pay the party that hired the subcontractor;
- The owner doesn’t intend to use the property as their residence; or
- The property isn’t a townhouse or one/two-family dwelling.
Furthermore, subcontractors must provide additional information when claiming a lien (refer to the subcontractor mechanic’s lien form below).
Laws & Requirements
Pennsylvania Subcontractor Mechanic’s Lien Form – For use by subcontractors when claiming a lien on a property. The subcontractor must serve a notice of intent on the owner thirty (30) days before filing a lien. If working on a “searchable project,” they must also file a notice of furnishing within forty-five (45) days of project commencement(§ 1503, § 1501.3(b), § 1501).