HEMPFIELD (KDKA) — When Barbara Lotz of Shelby Drive in Hempfield hired Prime Roofing Systems to do work on her house after the tornado last March, she thought she had done her homework.

“They’d done other houses on the street, the work was satisfactory,” she said. “We did their Better Business Bureau rating. It was an A+ at the time.”

The roof the company installed earned an A+ too until November when Lotz learned that a lien in the amount of $3,800 had been placed on her house by ABC Supply Company which provides building materials to the Texas-based company that replaced her roof.

“If you have a lien put against your house, you cannot refinance, you cannot sell your house and you cannot obtain a new home equity unless than lien’s been satisfied,” Lotz said.

She is one of 17 storm victims throughout Hempfield, Greensburg and surrounding areas who quickly learned the meaning of a mechanics’ lien.

“A mechanics lien is a legal procedure designed to make sure that contractors and people who supply materials get paid for their work,” Chuck D’Angelo, an attorney with Meyer-Darragh, said.

He represents another homeowner who is facing an $11,000 lien.

He says this situation is unusual because there were so many liens filed simultaneously, all involving Prime Roofing Systems.

“The theory is that if you have materials in your house and made part of the building that you ought to pay for those materials,” D’Angelo said.

For now, Lotz doesn’t know if she’ll have to pay the lien, but she wants to use her situation to educate others.

“If this does nothing else than prevent this from happening to another homeowner, it’s worth it,” she said.

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