Proposed Changes to Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law Would Provide for Internet-Based Directory to Serve as a Standardized Statewide System for Filing Construction Notices

Pending House Bill 473 seeks to amend the current lien law by creating a centralized construction notices registry in Pennsylvania known as the State Construction Notices Directory (“Directory”), which would provide owners and general contractors with access to a database listing all potential lien claimants on a registered project.

An owner would have the option of registering a project by filing a notice of commencement on the Directory and posting a copy at the site of the project prior to the start of physical construction.

For all such registered projects, subcontractors and suppliers would then have an affirmative duty to monitor the Directory for appropriate notices of commencement and to file notices of furnishing within forty-five (45) days of first providing work, services or materials in order to preserve lien rights. Failure to timely file the notice of furnishing would result in a forfeiture of the right to file a lien claim.

The centralized state notice directory created by HB 473 is modeled after Utah’s State Construction Registry that was implemented in 2005. The stated purpose behind HB 473 is to protect commercial property owners from double paying to remove subcontractor liens. By registering the project, the owner can identify the universe of subcontractors working on the project and check to ensure that all subcontractors have been compensated before making final payment.

House Bill 473 was passed in the Legislature earlier this month and has been presented to the Governor. If signed into law, the Directory and associated registration requirements would not come into effect until December 31, 2016, at the earliest.

Click here for the text of House Bill 473.

Jeffery R. Mullen

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