I was explained by Levelset the my next step is to file a Letter Of Foreclosure. But doesn't it have to go to court first to obtain a judgement first?
May 20, 2019
That's a good question, and I'm sorry to hear that you're having to scratch and claw just to be paid what you've earned. First, as you may know, mechanics liens will typically lead toward payment without the need for legal action. But, filing a mechanics lien doesn't always automatically result in payment. When a lien has been filed but the owner and/or contractor still refuses to make payment, some see the next step as filing an action to enforce their lien. On some level, that may be true - the next "official" or procedural action once a lien has been filed will be to enforce (or "foreclose") that lien, if payment hasn't been made. But states provide a lien enforcement deadline for a reason.
In Pennsylvania, once a lien has been filed, that lien claimant will have 2 years from the date their lien was filed before they're required to take legal action on the lien. Now, 2 years would be a long time to wait for payment - but, that still provides a lot of time for a lien claimant to try and negotiate payment before taking some further action is necessary. If it's obvious that payment will not be made, or if the deadline to file suit is growing close, filing a lien enforcement action might become necessary.
However, nobody wants to get caught up in a lawsuit, and the potential results for a property owner can be drastic in an action to foreclose. So, by warning or threatening that an enforcement action will be filed if payment isn't made, lien claimants have another opportunity to recover payment without the need for legal action. A document like a Notice of Intent to Foreclose serves as this final warning, and it makes it clear that nonpayment will not be stood for. So, once a lien has been filed, often, the next step is seen as sending a Notice of Intent to Foreclose before an enforcement action is actually filed. That way, there's one more opportunity to resolve the dispute without taking to the courts.
As far as who files a lien enforcement action in court - that suit must be filed by the lien claimant (and their attorney). While online services such as Levelset can aid in the filing of a mechanics lien, they do not have the ability to practice law, so they may not file suit on any claimant's behalf.