Residents billed in site work dispute

Residents billed in site work dispute

There are 39 comments on the The Morning Call story from Jun 22, 2009, titled Residents billed in site work dispute. In it, The Morning Call reports that:

At first, Tracey Demaria thought the letter she received last week was a mistake.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Morning Call.

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“Perseverance Furthers”

Since: May 09

Location hidden

#1 Jun 22, 2009
These homeowners are being used, the lawyer who dreamed up this ploy should be ashamed of himself, but that would assume lawyers have a conscience.
James

Macungie, PA

#2 Jun 22, 2009
I don't get it. These people can buy $300,000 homes and throw around all their wealth, but can't pay a laywer to check on things before they buy?

THEN throw a big fuss over $1,000?
Lets waste time and energy over what equates to a drop in the bucket for these people. Quit your crying and pay the dam bill. Have no sympathy for people in mini mansions crying poverty.
Sound Reasoning

San Jose, CA

#3 Jun 22, 2009
First, these homeowners should have used the services of a GOOD real estate attorney when the purchased their homes. A good attorney would have made sure that the builder had releases from all the contractors and sub-contractors documenting in writing that they have been full paid.

Second, these homeowners should have title insurance. Not just for their mortgage company, but also a policy for themselves. If they did, they could just forward these bill to that insurance company for payment.

Pretty simple, no?
Gene Pool Lifeguard

Slatington, PA

#4 Jun 22, 2009
Hopfly wrote:
These homeowners are being used, the lawyer who dreamed up this ploy should be ashamed of himself, but that would assume lawyers have a conscience.
What are you talking about, "dreamed up".

Mechanics Liens are quite common. I'm a project manager in large commercial and institutional buildings. If we don't get paid by the contractor, our first course of action is a ML on the property. This just wasn't dreamed up.
whatever

Emmaus, PA

#5 Jun 22, 2009
"The surprise bill is at the center of a still-murky dispute between Allan A. Myers and Atlantic Van Buren Road L.P., a New Jersey company that set out to build Fox Run Estates more than five years ago."

The dispute is not between Allan A. Myers and the homeowners as stated in the article. Maybe the homeowners should get together and sue Alan A. Myers for harassment. Why not put a lein on all of ( Atlantic Van Buren Road L.P.) "the builder" assets???? If this has been done, and still no payment, too bad. This is not the fault of the homeowner. Allan A. Myers may lose business if they pursue these ugly means to re-coop their loses.
Mary Pickford

Hazleton, PA

#6 Jun 22, 2009
We Need Better Regulations HERE or Better Enforcement Of The Ones We Have!
It Really Seems Like The Builder Has The Blessings of The Township Supervisors. Or is he/she waiting for the development to turn into "A Private Community"? Either way the residents will need a lawyer.
Private Communities here in PA are a joke.

$1,000 for someone living in a $300,000 house seems like not a lot of money- but here I see "Principals" No One should tolorate a shake down!

How can a subcontractor do this? Where & why hasn't the Developer paid him? I would contact your State Representitive immediately- forget the locals because this envolves the Title & I think its a Consumer issue.

“Perseverance Furthers”

Since: May 09

Location hidden

#7 Jun 22, 2009
Gene Pool Lifeguard wrote:
<quoted text>
What are you talking about, "dreamed up".
Mechanics Liens are quite common. I'm a project manager in large commercial and institutional buildings. If we don't get paid by the contractor, our first course of action is a ML on the property. This just wasn't dreamed up.
Commercial and institutional projects are quite different from pursuing homeowners. No? This appears to be using homeowners as leverage. It may be legal but ethically it is questionable.
Lynn

Center Valley, PA

#8 Jun 22, 2009
James wrote:
I don't get it. These people can buy $300,000 homes and throw around all their wealth, but can't pay a laywer to check on things before they buy?
THEN throw a big fuss over $1,000?
Lets waste time and energy over what equates to a drop in the bucket for these people. Quit your crying and pay the dam bill. Have no sympathy for people in mini mansions crying poverty.
300,000 homes are not mini-mansions in my opinion. you can bet most of those homes are owned by working class families and 1000.00 is a BIG deal. stop judging.
West End Resident

Allentown, PA

#9 Jun 22, 2009
Sound Reasoning wrote:
First, these homeowners should have used the services of a GOOD real estate attorney when the purchased their homes. A good attorney would have made sure that the builder had releases from all the contractors and sub-contractors documenting in writing that they have been full paid.
Second, these homeowners should have title insurance. Not just for their mortgage company, but also a policy for themselves. If they did, they could just forward these bill to that insurance company for payment.
Pretty simple, no?
This is so BooohhhguS that it's funny. A NJ compnay stiffing PA contractor - imagine that. I'm shocked - shocked 1

Beyond that, Sound Reasoning above is exactly right. This is one of the sceanrios that Title Insurance is supposed to address. As a practical matter, if these homeowners have mortgages, the lender would have required that at least enough title insurance be obtained to protect the loan - and if the homeowner was smart, well-advised, and not cheap, they would have purchased the Owner's component of the policy as well. In any event, each of these homeowners should immediately look through each of their pile of documents from the closing/ settlement when they purchased their house, and find the title insurance policy and information. Then, ASAP mail a copy of the notice from Allan A. Myers, Inc. by certified mail, return receipt requested, to both that title insurance compoany, and the lender - who will not be amused, rest assured. Then the homeowners should be able to basically sit back and let the corporations and their respective lawyers fight it out.

There are many possible defense to these Mechanic's Lien claims, such as [not a complete list]; For the last several years, in Pennsylvania they have been barred against individual homes. The developer should have posted financial security of some kind - bond, escrow account, letter of credit, etc.- with the Township for the public improvements - streets, sewers, drains, and things like that. The developer's contract with Myers should have had a waiver or stipulation against liens like this - the devleoper's bank and title insurance company would have required it as well. Did Myers comply with all of the advance notice requirements to the homeowners and the developer - that's often where these claims fail. Also, the claims have been filed too late for the work on each property. Really, the homeowners might want to think about pooling together and hire their own attorney for common matters just to keep track of things and advise them of the facts and applicable laws and defenses here, so that they can sleep well at night. But in the meantime, these Mechanic's Lien claims ain't going noplace soon.

P.S. Steve Goudsouzian is a nice guy anda good attorney, but has no special expertise in these kinds of matters, as far as I know. The Morning Call should get a better class of expert to comment on these tkinds of things.
Sound Reasoning

San Jose, CA

#10 Jun 22, 2009
Hopfly wrote:
<quoted text>
Commercial and institutional projects are quite different from pursuing homeowners. No? This appears to be using homeowners as leverage. It may be legal but ethically it is questionable.
If you think the laws that govern Mechanic's Liens are ethically questionable, then you need to seek to change those laws. However, today, these procedures and rightful legal actions for an unpaid contractor.

Again, the root problem here, is that these homeowners were too stupid or naive to have protected against this back when they bought their new homes. I mean, getting releases from all contractors and subs when you buy a newly built home should be standard procedures.

That is exactly what I did, when I bought my new home. Any good attorney would certainly make sure this is done for their client.
Gene Pool Lifeguard

Slatington, PA

#11 Jun 22, 2009
Hopfly wrote:
<quoted text>
Commercial and institutional projects are quite different from pursuing homeowners. No? This appears to be using homeowners as leverage. It may be legal but ethically it is questionable.
This isn't the first time this has happened in a residential development pertaining to site work.

I agree that it really stinks, but it's Meyers only recourse.

We don't like doing it either, but it's the first action in the legal process to TRY to get paid. We've waited 2 years already.

Good luck to all.
Gene Pool Lifeguard

Slatington, PA

#12 Jun 22, 2009
West End Resident wrote:
<quoted text>
This is so BooohhhguS that it's funny. A NJ compnay stiffing PA contractor - imagine that. I'm shocked - shocked 1
Beyond that, Sound Reasoning above is exactly right. This is one of the sceanrios that Title Insurance is supposed to address. As a practical matter, if these homeowners have mortgages, the lender would have required that at least enough title insurance be obtained to protect the loan - and if the homeowner was smart, well-advised, and not cheap, they would have purchased the Owner's component of the policy as well. In any event, each of these homeowners should immediately look through each of their pile of documents from the closing/ settlement when they purchased their house, and find the title insurance policy and information. Then, ASAP mail a copy of the notice from Allan A. Myers, Inc. by certified mail, return receipt requested, to both that title insurance compoany, and the lender - who will not be amused, rest assured. Then the homeowners should be able to basically sit back and let the corporations and their respective lawyers fight it out.
There are many possible defense to these Mechanic's Lien claims, such as [not a complete list]; For the last several years, in Pennsylvania they have been barred against individual homes. The developer should have posted financial security of some kind - bond, escrow account, letter of credit, etc.- with the Township for the public improvements - streets, sewers, drains, and things like that. The developer's contract with Myers should have had a waiver or stipulation against liens like this - the devleoper's bank and title insurance company would have required it as well. Did Myers comply with all of the advance notice requirements to the homeowners and the developer - that's often where these claims fail. Also, the claims have been filed too late for the work on each property. Really, the homeowners might want to think about pooling together and hire their own attorney for common matters just to keep track of things and advise them of the facts and applicable laws and defenses here, so that they can sleep well at night. But in the meantime, these Mechanic's Lien claims ain't going noplace soon.
P.S. Steve Goudsouzian is a nice guy anda good attorney, but has no special expertise in these kinds of matters, as far as I know. The Morning Call should get a better class of expert to comment on these tkinds of things.
Funny you said the NJ thing. All of our problems are with NJ companies.
truth

Bethlehem, PA

#13 Jun 22, 2009
I hardly read the article cause I was looking at the hot soccer mom sitting in her driveway... mmmm mmmm....
Kevinw

United States

#14 Jun 22, 2009
Wow. This is akin to having someone come to your home to put siding on the house. The work is done, the bill is paid and another guy comes by and says, 'gee I think the work was shoddy or not completed. Let me go and finish it the right way regardless of having the property owner's permission. Then I'll bill them afterward.' There is not legal basis for this except if there is something written into the draconian development contracts that these homeowners sign without reading. This is the problem with these cold, sterile communities springing up all over. People think that living in these planned communities is cool until they realize they signed away most of the rights they would experience. It's like living in a commune or a communist bloc country inside Northampton County.
Pervo Catcher

Bethlehem, PA

#15 Jun 22, 2009
truth wrote:
I hardly read the article cause I was looking at the hot soccer mom sitting in her driveway... mmmm mmmm....
On the outside looking in...the story of your life !!!
CCG

Richmond, IN

#16 Jun 22, 2009
Every new development has bond money in escrow for these types of situations. If there isn't any money in escrow the Township is a fault for dedicating a project that is not completed. This should be a Township issue. The homeowners have already paid for this when the home was purchased. By the way the developer filed for Chapter 11 last year on this project.
tmt

Westminster, MD

#17 Jun 22, 2009
We don't need more regulations or more enforcement. The system is working. As someone earlier stated these people have title insurance. Once a claim is filed with the title insurance all will be settled. The homeowner will be taken out of the equation.
Mary Pickford wrote:
We Need Better Regulations HERE or Better Enforcement Of The Ones We Have!
It Really Seems Like The Builder Has The Blessings of The Township Supervisors. Or is he/she waiting for the development to turn into "A Private Community"? Either way the residents will need a lawyer.
Private Communities here in PA are a joke.
$1,000 for someone living in a $300,000 house seems like not a lot of money- but here I see "Principals" No One should tolorate a shake down!
How can a subcontractor do this? Where & why hasn't the Developer paid him? I would contact your State Representitive immediately- forget the locals because this envolves the Title & I think its a Consumer issue.
Nice try

East Greenville, PA

#18 Jun 22, 2009
Not so simple. There is a standard exception in owners title policies for unfiled mechanics liens. People rarely proceed with the necessary steps eliminate that risk. There is still an opportunity to challenge the lien itself and hopefully the site work was done in connection with an improvements agreement otherwise the Township will not be involved. Stipulations and Waivers Against Liens should be something EVERY new homeowner inquires about. Why should contractors get stiffed? The home purchasers benefited from the work. Their quarrel is with the DEVELOPER. Good luck with that. And by the way this is why you should pay for an attorney to do your real estate closing. If he or she screws up at least you would have someone else to blame (and sue).
FrankL

Saint Paul, MN

#19 Jun 22, 2009
This is an archaic law that should be eliminated. Even if you get signed lien waivers from the contractor, the subcontractor can still come after you. I had it happen to me. Anything else you buy, you are automatically protected except for your house. Why should a homeowner have to deal with a subcontractor that they never saw or hired? If the subcontractor is not being paid, his beef is with the contractor, not the customer.
Blunder

Macungie, PA

#20 Jun 22, 2009
Typical answer - run to the township to fix your private problems. Charles Bruno- tell these residents to pound sand

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