The eviction process can be confusing for both landlords and tenants. Both sides should be aware of the legal bases for eviction and the requirements for landlords wanting to end a tenancy to ensure rights are being protected.
Landlords can seek to evict a tenant ONLY if:
A tenant does not pay rent
A tenant does not follow the terms in the written or oral lease agreement
The time period for which the tenant rented is over, and the landlord wants the tenant out.
There are a number of steps in the eviction process, which include:
Written Notice (may be waived or shortened in the lease) – Written by the landlord, provides 10 days to vacate for non-payment of rent; 15 days to vacate for breach of lease or for the end of lease term
Landlord/Tenant Complaint – After the 10- or 15-day notice period ends, the landlord can file a Landlord/Tenant Complaint. The Magisterial District Judge court schedules the hearing within 7-15 days of filing. The landlord may ask for possession of the property and monetary damages for unpaid rent and damage to the property. The tenant will receive notice of the time and place for the hearing.
Court Hearing (Magisterial District Judge) – The MDJ will make a decision either at the hearing or within 3 days after the hearing. If the MDJ grants a judgement for possession to the landlord, the landlord can seek an Order for Possession after a 10-day appeal period.
If No Appel Filed – The landlord can file for an Order of Possession 10 days after the MDJ judgement. The tenant is then given another 10-day notice to leave the premises. If the tenant does not leave after the 20-day period, the landlord can legal have the constable or sheriff physically remove the tenant.
Appeal Filed (can be requested by either party) – If the MDJ grants a judgement for possession to the landlord, a tenant can file an appeal within 10 days to the Court of Common Pleas. A Notice of the Appeal must be served to the landlord and the MDJ. The tenant must also deposit money in order to request supersedeas (stay of legal proceeding). The amount is 1/3 of one month’s rent at the time of filing, and the remaining 2/3 within 20 days of filing the appeal. The tenant must also make rental payments to the Office of the Prothonotary during the appeal.