No. 20 Harrisburg, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Civil Division, at No. 824 MLD-N 1975
Jerome T. Foerster, Harrisburg, for appellant.
Albert Z. Bogert, Mechanicsburg, for appellee.
Brosky, McEwen and Beck, JJ. McEwen, J., concurs in result. Beck, J., files concurring opinion.
[ 306 Pa. Super. Page 477]
Appellee Stratford commenced this action by filing a mechanic's lien claim alleging that appellant Boland owed him $9,881.54 as payment for architectural services rendered by Stratford. Prior to trial, the parties agreed that upon entry of a bond in the amount of $11,881.54, the lien would be stricken off and fully discharged as a lien against the property. The bond was filed and the lien was discharged. A trial was held and the jury returned a verdict in favor of appellee in the amount of $7,200. Motions for new trial and judgment n.o.v. were filed and denied and this appeal followed. We reverse.
Appellant contends that Mr. Stratford did not meet his burden of proof at trial and that, in any case, appellee could not properly file a mechanic's lien in this case because the underlying contract was not made with the owner of the subject property.
We can readily dispense with appellant's claim that a mechanic's lien could not have been properly imposed on the property because the contract in question was not made with the property's owner.
Although the contract was made before appellant acquired an interest in the property, the lien claim was filed after he had acquired an equitable interest in it.
[ 306 Pa. Super. Page 478]
The contract upon which Mr. Stratford bases his claim was made with the person, who at the time the lien was filed, had equitable interest in the property. An equitable interest is such that its holder is considered an owner for purposes of the Mechanic's Lien Law. See 49 P.S. § 1201, defining "owner"; McClure v. Fairfield, 153 Pa. 411, 26 A. 446 (1893). We believe that since Mr. Boland was the owner at the time the lien was filed, and was the person with whom Mr. Stratford contracted, that the claim could be validly filed against his property. In this respect, we agree with Edwards v. Stevens, 4 Pa.D. & C.3d 137 (1977) (citing Weaver v. Sheeler, 124 Pa. 473, 17 Atl. 17 (1889)), which held that ownership at the time of the filing of the lien was sufficient if the then owner had contracted with the claimant.
We turn now to appellant's second claim. To recover under the Mechanic's Lien Law as an architect, Mr. Stratford must have proven that pursuant to his contract with Mr. Boland, he ...