If you are a renter in Pennsylvania, it is important that you know the steps a landlord needs to take if they have decided on eviction. The landlord must follow the steps laid out in the Pennsylvania law called the Landlord and Tenant Act. Regardless of the reason, any eviction from a landlord cannot be done without following the rules of the law. However, if you are staying in a special boarding home or a guest at a lodging facility such as a motel, this law will not apply for eviction.
One of the most important parts of the law is that landlords are not able to take any actions on their own to keep you from your home. This can include removing your property from the home, changing the locks or using tactics to forcibly move you out. Here is a breakdown of the procedures a landlord must take to properly carry-out an eviction.
Notice to quit
The reason for an eviction can be based on several reasons. These can include an end of a lease agreement, rent has not been paid or is consistently not paid on time or the renter has caused damage to the property. Another reason for an eviction is a violation of the lease agreement. This can include allowing pets or other people to live in the home who are not mentioned in the lease or illegal activity happening in the home such as the use or manufacturing of drugs. Once the landlord has decided to evict, they must provide you with a document called A Notice to Quit that states you must move off the property or pay the rent by a certain date.
Requirements of a Notice to Quit
The Notice to Quit document must have certain information included in it. It must have the landlords name, your name along with any other valid tenants, property address and the reason for the notice. If the notice has been given because of non-payment of rent, the notice will need to include a method and location for you to make the payment as well as a specific date this should be done by. This letter will also need to indicate that if the specifications for payment are not met, the landlord may pursue legal action. If the reason for the eviction is due to a lease agreement violation, you will need to move out prior to the date that is referenced in the notice. The law requires that you should have at least 10 days if the notice is for non-payment. If it is a lease violation eviction, you should be given 15 days’ notice or 30 days if the lease was one year or longer.
Dismissing an eviction
If the landlord does not follow the proper rules for eviction, you as the tenant can ask a judge to dismiss the eviction. This does not mean you can continue to stay at the property long-term, it just means the landlord will need to begin the eviction process once again if they choose to do so.
Landlords of residential properties in Pennsylvania must follow the procedures in the Landlord and Tenant Act if they want to evict a tenant. If you have any questions about an eviction, you should contact an attorney who can assist you.