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Can we include residential properties , different from our job site, on a lien for underground drilling?

PennsylvaniaMechanics Lien

We are a drilling company that worked for a General Contractor (GC) on a Pipeline job that will not settle out valid invoices. Our equipment was set up on Prop A for a 1100 foot underground bore shot that went under various residential properties. Can we legally include these properties in the lien filing along withe the GC & Project Owners? We want to ensure we are perfecting this lien correctly.

1 reply

May 18, 2018
That's an interesting question. First, for a valid lien to be filed, the work performed must have been authorized by the owner of the property being liened. If work is authorized on one property but not a neighboring property, and the improvement extends to the neighboring property where work is not authorized, filing a lien on the neighboring property would likely not result in a valid lien claim. Such a claim might actually attach to the property, but it would likely be unenforceable and would probably not stand if challenged. Even if the work was authorized by all of the relevant property owners, determining whether the work performed improved the property will also be crucial. While pipeline work is not as clearly lienable as other forms of construction work (more on that, here from Reed Smith), it's still imperative that the work performed improved the liened property. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Pennsylvania mechanics lien statute provides much of clarity there. Under the statute, an "improvement" includes "any building, structure or other improvement of whatsoever kind or character erected or constructed on land, together with the fixtures and other personal property used in fitting up and equipping the same for the purpose for which it is intended." Ultimately, filing a mechanics lien on residential property for pipeline work initiated by a neighboring property may or may not be permissible based on the above factors. But it appears there is certainly room for arguing that such a lien might be proper.
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