The Pennsylvania Eviction Process

Landlord and residential tenant relationships are governed by a comprehensive body of law in Pennsylvania.  When a tenant is delinquent in the payment of rent, or otherwise breaches the terms of his lease, a landlord must strictly comply with eviction rules in order to lawfully regain possession of his property.

The following steps are described generally, and may differ in your particular situation pursuant to the terms of your contract, lease, or other agreement.

1.  Eviction Notice.  The landlord must give the tenant an eviction notice and an opportunity to correct the breach.  The length of time the tenant has to correct the breach depends on a number of factors, including whether a specific period of time is stated in the lease, the date of the eviction notice, the length of the lease, and whether the lease is written or oral.  If the tenant does not surrender the property within the allotted time, then the landlord may proceed through the court as further described below.

2.  Filing a Complaint. The next step allows the landlord to file a complaint before the district judge with jurisdiction over the premises at issue.  A copy of the complaint and a notice setting forth the date and time of a hearing will be served on the tenant in person, or taped to the door of the premises.

3.  The hearing.  On the date and time set by the court, both the landlord and tenant will have an opportunity to present a case to the district judge, including testimony from witnesses and any documents or other evidence.  After the hearing, the district judge will decide who gets possession of the property.  (The district judge’s ruling may be appealed within thirty days.)

4.  Executing an Order for Possession.  Not less than fifteen days after a landlord receives a judgment for possession from the district judge, the landlord may ask the constable to give the tenant an order for possession requiring the tenant to vacate the premises in not less than fifteen days.  (The intent is to allow a tenant at least thirty days from the date a judgment of possession was issued to relocate.)

For more information about residential landlord and tenant law, contact a professional real estate attorney.  At Scolieri Law Group, P.C., our lawyers have represented commercial and residential brokers, agents, mortgage bankers, landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers.  We have the experience to assist you in all your real estate law needs.  Contact us today at (412)765-0546 or