Construction Law Lawyer SE PA
Any legal matters that concern commercial and residential real estate can be complex since there are often reams of documentation and a lot of legal terms that a layperson may not be familiar with. One term that many people have never heard of – until they have the unfortunate experience of becoming involved in the legal action – is mechanic’s lien. A Pennsylvania mechanic’s lien is a legal document issued by the court that is filed against a property by subcontractors and suppliers if the general contractor who was in charge of the project has not paid them. This can be a terrible situation for the property owner, especially if they have already paid the general contractor for all the work. If you are in this situation, contact a SE PA construction law lawyer from Hoegen & Associates, P.C. immediately.
A common scenario for a mechanic’s lien goes as follows: A homeowner has decided they want to have their home remodeled. Maybe they want to add a bathroom, remodel the kitchen, or build an addition to the home. They hire a general contractor to do the work and that is who they are paying. Usually, payments include both work performance and supplies.
The general contractor will order supplies for the job. Depending on the type of job, they may even hire subcontractors to do the work, such as electricians or plumbers. It is not uncommon for suppliers and subcontractors to bill the general contractor at a later date for the supplies delivered or the work performed.
But let’s say the general contractor does not pay for supplies or the subcontractors he hired. Under the law, those people who have not been paid can have a mechanic’s lien placed on the property. This means the homeowner would have to pay the amount owed – in effect paying for the same job twice or if in extreme cases, they may have to sell their home in order to satisfy the debt.
Avoiding Mechanic’s Liens
If you are a homeowner and you are planning on having work done to your home, a Construction law lawyer in SE PA suggests the following steps to help protect your property:
- Make sure to pay the general contractor using checks. Add both the contractor’s name and the supplier or subcontractors’ names to checks.
- Get a lien waiver. You should have a contract with the general contractor. Make sure the contractor adds a provision of a mechanic’s lien waiver in the contract.
- Pay suppliers directly. While this can be time-consuming and not always the smoothest way to do business, you will at least be assured that the materials used in your home are paid for. Although you can do the same with subcontractors, the issue then arises that they could legally be considered working directly for you and not the general contractor and make you responsible for 1099 forms and other income tax withholdings.
Call Our Office Today
If you are being threatened with a mechanic’s lien, contact Hoegen & Associates, P.C. immediately. A lien can affect your ability to obtain credit, remortgage your home, or even sell your home in the future. Call today to schedule a consultation with a SE PA construction law lawyer.