Pennsylvania bill would protect homeowners against mechanic’s liens

A bill introduced into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would protect that state’s homeowners from mechanics' liens filed by subcontractors if the homeowners paid the contractor in full.

The bill would eliminate the ability of subcontractors, suppliers and others to file liens on owner-occupied residences when the monetary obligations have been paid in full. 

This happened not long ago to a group of 17 property owners facing mechanics' liens in Westmoreland, Pa., because the roofing company they hired allegedly failed to pay the material supplier, according to an article in the Greensboro Tribune-Review. One of the properties is an apartment building. 

The liens were filed last month by ABC Supply Co, the Beloit, Wis., firm with an outlet in New Castle. ABC Supply claimed in court papers that Prime Roofing Systems of Waxahachie, Texas, failed to pay them for more than $64,000 in building materials delivered to the 17 properties. Property owners have said they paid Prime Roofing for the work, which was done to repair damage from a tornado and hail storm that ripped through the county last March.

Rebecca Ruble of Hempfield said she had a $3,700 lien placed on her home by ABC Supply as a result of the Prime Roofing Systems non-payment. She said the proposed legislation -- which was introduced in May and is slowly winding its way through the Pennsylvania legislature -- is too late to help her.

Under the bill, a property owner would file a notice when work starts, which would require all subcontractors and suppliers to provide owners with notice of the work they are performing or the materials they are providing. These notices might be filed through a website. Ohio has a similar law.

The Pennsylvania House is scheduled to vote on the bill in the next month and then move it on for consideration in the Senate. 

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