Monday, May 14, 2012

Taking Back Time: Lien Reinstatement

                                                         Be Sure Your Lien is Served in a Timely Manner


Serving your filed lien within the specified time limit is an important part of the mechanic's lien process, as it could be the difference between a valid and invalid document.  Pennsylvania lien statutes outline a very specific method of service on the owner of any property with a lien attached to it.  The document must be served by a county sheriff, and the affidavit of service must be filed with the county prothonotary.  This must be done within 30 days following the filing date of the lien document.  Once you fall outside of the 30 day window, the sheriff will not be able to serve your document.

Pennsylvania law offers lien claimants a second chance for proper service should they miss the original service deadline.  A lien claimant may file a praecipe for reinstatement.  This document essentially extends the service window by an additional 30 days from the date that the praecipe is filed by having the prothonotary reissue the document.  Once the clerk reissues the original lien, it can be sent to the Sheriff for service.  A praecipe for reinstatement is not only useful if you miss the 30 day mark.  Should the owner's address change after the lien is filed, reservice upon the new address is now possible.  Lienitnow has filed this document for clients who are worried that the owner did not receive the original mechanic's lien and would like to attempt service upon an alternate address.  In our experience, most states offer a deadline for service which is greater than 30 days and does not require process service by a county agency.  Although Pennsylvania may have more intricate requirements for service than most states, the praecipe for reinstatement offers a safety net for mechanic's lien claimants who would like to properly serve their document.

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