In Pennsylvania, “The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951” (“The Act”) governs all residential leases entered in Pennsylvania. The Act provides certain terms in the relationship between a landlord and tenant that cannot be waived by the tenant, even where the written lease has provisions contrary to the Act.
Continue Reading Return of Security Deposits Under the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act

A Mechanics’ Lien Claim can present problems for Owners seeking to sell or refinance a home or other real estate. Likewise, higher-tiered Contractors and Subcontractors can encounter headaches where a Subcontractor files a Lien Claim of questionable legitimacy or for defective work, jeopardizing the Contractor’s reputation or relationship with customers.
Continue Reading Discharging a Mechanics’ Lien Claim by Surety Bond or Payment of Cash into Court

A 2006 Supreme Court Case arising from a story most laypeople learned from supermarket tabloids reaffirms an age old exception to the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts. As many people know, deceased model and celebrity personality Anna Nicole Smith (then aged 26) married billionaire Oil Industry magnate J. Howard Marshall when Marshall was 89 years of age. Famously, the marriage lasted fourteen months, until Marhsall’s death, leading many to comment that Marshall must have died a happy man. Following Marshall’s passing, Smith (whose real name was Vicky Lynn Marshall) became embroiled in a protracted dispute over the estate of her late husband with the deceased billionaire’s son and her own adult step-son, E. Pierce Marshall.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Case Involving Anna Nicole Smith Highlights Exceptions to Federal Court Jurisdiction

One of the most common sources of litigation involving real property is that of disputes between adjoining property owners. Of these disputes, many involve a disagreement regarding where the property line between the two parcels of land is actually located, and one party’s objection to his neighbor’s use of the property beyond the legal boundary between the properties. Pennsylvania has a well-developed practical approach to such disputes where a line between the properties has been respected and acquiesced to for a requisite period of years.
Continue Reading The Doctrine of “Consentable Lines” Resolves Some Property Line Disputes Between Adjoining Land Owners

The Pennsylvania Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act, (PUFTA) 12 Pa.C.S.A. § 5101 et seq., grants a statutory remedy to creditors where a debtor has acted to hinder his creditors and identifies several factors for scrutinizing transfers as fraudulent to creditors. Where a transfer has been proven to be fraudulent as to a debtor’s creditors, remedies available to a creditor include voiding the fraudulent transfer, attaching the transferred property, injunctions against the debtor’s future disposition of assets, and Court appointment of a receiver to take charge of fraudulently transferred assets.
Continue Reading The Pennsylvania Fraudulent Transfers Act: A Useful Tool to Avoid Debtors’ Sham Sales of Assets and Turn Judgments into Dollars in a Slowing Economy

Many Contractors may have become familiar with the recent Amendments to the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law which became effective in January of 2007. Those Amendments were the first Amendments to the Law since the Law’s adoption in 1963, and reflected an effort on the part of the Pennsylvania Legislature to re-assert the Contractors’ and Subcontractors’ right to file Mechanics’ Liens for non-payment by restricting effective Up-front Lien Waivers and providing a bonding procedure to ensure payment where Up-front Waivers were required
Continue Reading New Amendments to the Pennsylvania Mechanic’s Lien Law Permit Up-front Waivers for More Residential Projects

Often times, Demolition contractors and Landscaping contractors will ask whether their services and the materials used in their trades constitute a proper basis for a Mechanics’ Lien Claim in order to preserve a likelihood of payment. Knowing what is, and what is not properly lienable work and materials is something that every contractor should be mindful of when assessing different jobs.
Continue Reading Demolition, Excavation, and Landscaping under the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law

Many times a majority shareholder seeking to squeeze-out a minority shareholder will deliberately withhold information relating to the closely held corporation. Withholding information is usually coupled with another form of oppression. The reason for the same is by leaving the minority shareholder in the dark about the status of the corporations and the actions of its officers and directors the minority shareholder will be unaware of the other forms of oppression.
Continue Reading Squeeze-Out Technique: Withholding Information

Prior to the Amendments to the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law of 1963 which became effective January 1, 2007, Mechanics’ Lien Claims were granted priority over Mortgages against the liened property that were recorded after the effective date of the Lien. Under the old law, a Mechanics’ Lien Claim representing amounts due to the Contractor for erection or construction “related back” to the start of work on the property, and Liens representing amounts due for alteration and repair dated from the filing of the Lien Claim.
Continue Reading Sheriff’s Sale of Property Following Foreclosure Can Extinguish Mechanics’ Liens