A lien is a legal claim of financial interest in real property. The claim allows for a third party to receive compensation for the amount of the lien from the proceeds of any sale or refinancing. While very difficult to execute, a lien holder who has a claim on a third party's house or automobile can force the sale of the property to collect the amount of the claim. Pennsylvania law differs from most state's laws, in that it allows for liens only on claims greater than $500. Pennsylvania law also does not mandate a notice of lien nor a filing of a satisfaction of lien.
Research the laws of Pennsylvania regarding the filing and placing of liens in the state. Pennsylvania Code 1650 is a good place to start. Also, prior to placing a lien, it is always a good idea to determine if there are other options to resolve the dispute with the property owner.
Obtain a lien form at a local courthouse or from the Resources section of this article. Complete the form. In order to meet the legal burden established by Pennsylvania law, a lien holder must establish the terms of the contract; state the amount owed; provide the names of all parties having an interest in the dispute; the date the contract the contract was breached; the location of the property in dispute.
File the lien in the jurisdiction where the property is located. The fee, as of May 2011, is $150 to file a lien in Pennsylvania. State law mandates the lien must be filed within six months from the date of delivery or completion of the contract. If the lien is granted the court will forward the information to the county recorder's office for recording. While Pennsylvania law does not require a notice to the owner, it is often in the best interest of all parties to inform the property owner in an effort to avoid further legal action.