Deadline to Perfect Mechanic’s Lien

How is contract, good onea Mechanic’s Lien Obtained?

First, the claimant’s efforts must be timely. The claim must be filed within six months from when the contractor finished his work, or if the supplier is the claimant; within six months of when said materials were furnished. 

Note that sub-contractors and suppliers must also give 30 days advance written notice of their intent to take a mechanic’s lien, and said notice must be (1) legally sufficient (describing the property correctly and providing other key information), and (2) served property.  So in other words, the notice of intent must be served within five months of the completion of the work, because of the 30 day notice requirement.

For lawyers, this process to obtain a Mechanic’s lien in Pennsylvania, but as you can see, this involves a technical procedure that an experienced lawyer can navigate with ease and affordability. 

The upside is, the lien immediately encumbers a person’s real property without so much as filing a civil suit for a money judgment, which can be more time consuming. For example, a lawsuit for money damages (not a mechanic’s lien) can percolate through the courts for 18 months or longer before defendant suffers and change in his rights. 

Mechanic’s lien claims are strictly construed and will be stricken if the claim fails to follow strict formalities (below). This is because striking off a lien does not necessarily put a party out of court: the aggrieved party may file a separate claim and obtain a judgment for money damages against the breaching party, which the courts also know as they strictly construe lien papers. Hence, the party seeking the lien should rely on experienced counsel to and pay close attention to all the formalities and strict deadlines for filing a mechanic’s lien claim.


The process is fairly complicated, but is easy for experienced counsel, allowing a contractor to inexpensively preserve rights. Here’s how it works: general contractors need not give formal notice of intent to obtain a lien on the docket; however, they must file their lien on the county docket within six months of their completion of the project. 

Importantly, with regard to subcontractors and suppliers, they must serve formal Notice of Intent to obtain a lien at least 30 days before filing the lien claim on the docket. Thus, in essence, after finishing a job, a subcontractor or supplier has five months to serve its notice of intent to obtain a lien (because he has only 6 months to file the lien after finishing work) and must give written notice 30 days in advance of taking the lien. 

When the lien is filed, that’s not the end. The plaintiff has one month to serve written notice of the lien on the owner. Then, the party taking the lien must file an affidavit of service with the court within twenty (20) days after service of the written notice to the owner. If these requirements are satisfied, however, no further action is necessary for two years. At some point during that time, however, the claimant most file a formal complaint in support of the lien, especially if “ruled” to do so. 

Content of Formal Notice

You should have an attorney prepare the notice of intent because if anything is missing from it, the lien can be stricken. The formal notice must include:

1. The name of the claimant
2. The name of the person with whom the claimant contracted
3. The total amount claimed
4. The general nature and character of labor or materials furnished
5. The date when the claimant completed its work or provided its supplies
6. A description of the real property at issue

You should talk to a lawyer about these procedures. 

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Call our Pittsburgh lawyers regarding mechanic’s Liens (filing, defensesperfection, priority (claims in bankruptcy, and more).  Call us to see whether money damages may be sought.  We appreciate concepts such as deadlines, lien waivers, real estate disputes, warranties, warranty issues, construction disputes involving contractors, GCs, sub-contractors, and suppliers), and more.  Learn about when 30 days written notice is not required in advance of the filing of a mechanic’s lien against real property.  Utilize our convenience site map for more information.

Out Pittsburgh attorneys focus on the formalities to perfect a lien or defeat one.  We look at whether the claim includes the name of the parties, description of the real property involved, whether proper notice of intent was served correctly, whether the claim is time-barred.  We appreciate that while a counterclaim may not be proper in defense of a mechanic’s lien, it may offset the amount of the lien.  We also look at actions in addition to — or in lieu of — a mechanic’s lien, such as complaint for money damages on the general docket to get judgment to execute on personal or business assets.  We explore the “defense of payment” approach.  We discuss with you all the costs and legal fees to retain us to bring or defend a mechanic’s lien action.  We formulate aggressive strategies tailed to be cost-effective and within your budget. We look at all issues surrounding a construction contract, such as non-payment, collection, and indemnity.  Call for more information.

Mechanic’s Liens

Mechanic’s Liens

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