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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>My company provides security services to a construction firm in PA. The construction company has not paid us for our services for over 5 months. Can I place a lien on them? What can I do to obtain payment from the construction company?

My company provides security services to a construction firm in PA. The construction company has not paid us for our services for over 5 months. Can I place a lien on them? What can I do to obtain payment from the construction company?

PennsylvaniaMechanics LienPayment Disputes

My company has been providing security services to a construction firm for over 5 months. We patrol the area and protect the site from being vandalized and from theft. The construction company has not paid me for our services. I have contacted them multiple times and every person I speak with gives me the run around. Can I place a lien on them? If not, what can I do to get them to pay me? I had to sign a waiver of Liens for another construction company that I provided services to before which makes me think I can place a lien on this current construction company.

2 replies

Feb 27, 2018
While security does not often come to mind when thinking of a construction improvement, that does not necessarily mean that lien rights aren't available. Under the Pennsylvania mechanics lien statute, contractors and subcontractors are entitled to file mechanics liens for labor and materials furnished for an improvement. However, a "subcontractor" includes those who furnish "labor, skill or superintendence" under contract with the general contractor. Further, "labor" includes the furnishing of skill or superintendence. Under those definitions, there's an argument to be made that providing security for an improvement - patrolling and warding off potential threats to the project - could be considered lienable work. However, that argument may be a bit of a stretch, and a lien filed for such work could certainly be deemed invalid. Ultimately, though, mechanics liens are regularly filed when the underlying work falls into the grey area of lien law. Upon a challenge of such a lien, a claimant can always release their lien. Safer alternatives, though, would be to send a letter demanding payment, to start with a Notice of Intent to Lien, or to make a demand through an attorney. In PA, unlike many other states, a Notice of Intent to Lien is a required notice for those who have contracted with someone other than the owner. The Notice must be sent to the owner 30 days before a lien is filed. Sending such notice to an owner and the GC, regardless of whether an eventual lien will be filed, will likely catch the attention of the owner and the GC and could help prompt payment.
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Nov 24, 2020
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