Anti-liens bill heads to House
A bill aimed at protecting homeowners from nefarious home contractors easily cleared the state Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House of Representatives for vote.
Senate Bill 145, introduced by Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, seeks to protect homeowners from unfair mechanics' liens. The bill passed by a 48-0 vote in the Senate.
The legislation would eliminate mechanics' lien rights for subcontractors who performed work on residential property, if the property owner already has paid the primary contractor in full.
Long a problem for homeowners, the problem was magnified recently after 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.
“Homeowners have faced this problem for years, but it became especially acute last year when several out-of-state roofing companies set up shop to replace homes damaged by a tornado in the 39th Senatorial District, and several property owners were victimized,” Ward said.
“Senate passage of this legislation means we're one step closer to preventing that from ever happening again,” she said.
Ward said even with proper documentation showing property owners 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 the residents to fight the subcontractor on their own.
Under Ward's bill, if a subcontractor files 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 a 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.
“I am grateful to my Senate colleagues for supporting my efforts to make sure that property owners who pay their construction bills aren't penalized by the deeds of an unscrupulous contractor,” she said.
“Most contractors perform their work in good faith. Senate Bill 145 is designed to protect homeowners from those who don't,” she said.
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.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale
- Sewickley Twp. to pay $10K for service breach
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint