Bill aims to protect homeowners against unfair liens
By Paul Peirce
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A bill aimed at protecting homeowners from nefarious home contractors cleared the state Senate Labor and Industry Committee Tuesday and will be forwarded to the full Senate for vote.
Senate Bill 145, introduced by Sen. Kim Ward, a Hempfield Republican, seeks to protect homeowners from unfair mechanics' liens. The proposal was unanimously approved by the committee.
The legislation would eliminate mechanics' lien rights for subcontractors who performed work on residential property, if the property owner already has paid the prime contractor in full.
Long a problem for homeowners, it became especially acute recently when several out-of-state roofing companies set up shop to replace tornado-damaged homes throughout Ward's Senate district in Westmoreland County in 2011.
One company completed several jobs for residents and failed to pay its roofing supplier. In turn, the roofing supplier exercised its right to file mechanics' liens against the property owners even though the property owners had already paid the contract price in full.
The contractor they hired, Prime Roofing Systems of Waxahachie, was accused of failing to pay for $64,000 in building materials supplied by ABC Supply Co. Inc. of Wisconsin, which has an office in New Castle.
“Even with proper documentation showing they paid the primary contractor, the subcontractor still filed the lien in accordance with existing Pennsylvania law. When the main contractor left town and disconnected their contact sources, they left these residents to fight the subcontractor on their own,” said Ward.
“This is unacceptable and unfair to those homeowners, who now have to pay twice because a contractor has skipped out on the job. This legislation will protect homeowners from that nightmare.”
Under Ward's bill, if a subcontractor would file a lien, the homeowner or tenant can file a petition or motion with the court to throw it out if the homeowner or tenant has paid the full contract price to the contractor.
When the homeowner or tenant has only paid part of the contract to the contractor, the bill directs the court to reduce the amount of lien to the amount still owed on the contract.
Ward introduced similar legislation in the previous legislative session. The bill would require approval by the state House of Representatives.
“The vast majority of contractors perform their work in good faith, but those who don't cause plenty of expense and stress for families,” Ward said. “By changing current law, we can make sure that consumers who pay their bills aren't penalized by the deeds of an unscrupulous contractor.”
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wilkinsburg man jailed in heroin overdose case
- Mt. Pleasant’s St. Pius X serves up Lenten meals
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Pricing change does not impress wineries
- Murrysville police will get raises in 5-year pact
- Mt. Pleasant board to vote on contract with Volz
- Greensburg Salem raising funds for fitness equipment
- Tentative plea deal with Westmoreland drivers reached in turnpike toll fraud
- Homicide charge added in Derry death
- Pittsburgh man charged with threat to witness