If you are being evicted in the state of Pennsylvania, you may not know how to proceed. Learning about the eviction process in Pennsylvania can help you understand your rights and options under the law. After reading this guide, you will understand the steps involved in the eviction process in Pennsylvania and how long each step will take.
Your landlord must give you proper notice before beginning the eviction process in Pennsylvania courts. The length of time your landlord must give you depends on the length of your lease, why you are being evicted, and in some cases, the time of year.
If you are being evicted due to rent being late, your landlord must give you 15 days of notice. During this 15 day period, you can repay your late rent in order to have your tenancy restored. This 15-day notice period, however, only applies between April 1st and September 1st. In winter, fall, and early spring, your landlord must give you a full thirty days to pay back rent before proceeding with an eviction.
If you are being evicted because you have violated a provision of the lease, you will receive a 30-day notice if your lease is of shorter duration than 12 months. For leases of 12 months or longer, the eviction process in Pennsylvania says that your landlord must give you 90 days to vacate. Your landlord may or may not offer you a way to fix the violation (for instance, re-homing an unauthorized pet or cleaning up damage done to the unit) before the notice period is over.
Court Filings and Hearings
If you do not vacate within the notice period, your landlord can file a lawsuit to start the eviction process in Pennsylvania courts. Your landlord will file a complaint with the district justice's office, and you will receive a copy of the complaint posted on your property and in the mail. The complaint will tell you why you are being evicted and also give the date and time for your eviction hearing.
You are not required to attend the hearing, but if you fail to appear, your landlord will win automatically and the eviction process in Pennsylvania will continue. If you intend to appear at the hearing, you are required to notify the court.
You may be able to fight an eviction suit in the state of Pennsylvania if you can prove that your landlord discriminated or retaliated against you, violated provisions of your lease, or served you with improper notice. You can talk to a lawyer experienced with the eviction process in Pennsylvania to find out your full range of legal rights and options.
Order for Possession
If your landlord wins at the hearing (or if you do not appear), the judge will give you fifteen days to leave the premises. If you do not leave the property by that time, your landlord can go back to the court for an “order for possession” that gives you an additional 15 days to leave or be forcibly removed by the constable or sheriff. If you are forcibly removed, you and your possessions can be taken out of the house, and your belongings will be stored by the sheriff at your expense. If you do not pay for the storage expenses, the eviction process in Pennsylvania allows your belongings to be sold or destroyed.