As a landlord, eviction is a last resort when dealing with troublesome tenants. However, when push comes to shove, Pennsylvania law provides a legal framework for such action. Before commencing an eviction, it is essential to understand the legal requirements in Pennsylvania. To help you out, here are the steps to follow when evicting tenants in Pennsylvania.
Serve Tenants with a Notice to Quit
The first step in the eviction process is to serve the tenants with a notice to quit. The notice must be in writing, and it must state the reason for the eviction. The notice must also include the date by which the tenants must vacate the property.
There are several types of notices to quit, depending on the reason for eviction. For example, if the tenant has not paid rent, the notice must state that the tenant has 10 days to pay rent or vacate the property. If the tenant is violating the terms of the lease, the notice must state the specific violation and give the tenant 15 days to vacate the property.
File a Complaint with the Court of Common Pleas
If the tenants do not vacate the property by the deadline stated in the notice to quit, the landlord can file a complaint with the Court of Common Pleas. The complaint must include the reason for eviction, the lease agreement, and the notice to quit.
The Court will then issue a summons to the tenant, which must be served by a sheriff or a process server. The tenant has 20 days to respond to the summons.
Attend the Hearing
If the tenant files a response to the summons, the Court will schedule a hearing. The hearing is an opportunity for both the landlord and the tenant to present their case.
The landlord must bring all relevant documents to the hearing, including the lease agreement, the notice to quit, and any other evidence supporting the reason for eviction. The tenant can present evidence in their defense, such as proof of payment or evidence that the landlord did not maintain the property.
Obtain a Writ of Possession
If the Court rules in favor of the landlord, the landlord can obtain a writ of possession. The writ of possession is a court order that allows the landlord to take possession of the property.
The writ of possession must be served by a sheriff or a process server. The tenant has 24 hours to vacate the property voluntarily. If the tenant does not vacate the property, the sheriff can remove the tenant and their belongings from the property.
If the tenant caused damage to the property, the landlord can file a separate lawsuit to recover damages. The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the eviction.
Evicting tenants in Pennsylvania can be a long and complicated process. It is essential to follow the legal requirements to ensure that the eviction is valid.
It is also important to note that Pennsylvania law provides tenants with certain rights, including the right to a habitable property, the right to privacy, and the right to due process. Landlords must abide by these rights and cannot evict tenants without following the legal process.
While eviction may seem like a tedious and stressful process, knowing what to do in this situation makes it infinitely more manageable. By following these guidelines, landlords can successfully evict tenants and protect their property rights.
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