I just bought a house a month ago and inherited a tenant. She’s decided to not pay her rent and has been unresponsive to me. I’m located in Philadelphia and I realize that the laws here are not landlord friendly. A couple of things to note:
1. It’s taking longer than normal to get the rental license because of COVID so I’m at the mercy of the city.
2. Her lease is up in a couple of weeks. It was originally a yearly lease but it’s from 2019 and renewed for one year in 2020
3. The house was purchased with a owner occupied loan
My original plan was to just go through with the eviction because of nonpayment. But I see that Philadelphia has an eviction prevention program due to COVID. So far I’ve only issued a pay or quit notice. The 10 days expired 3 days ago and still nothing. My new idea is to just issue notice that her lease will not be getting renewed and to use the fact that I need to live in one of the units as the good cause reason. Any one have any insight on this?
Eviction moratorium is set to expire June 30th, but I anticipate the Biden administration or individual states will extend it again. Regardless, it only protects tenants for non-payment of rent. Your tenant's lease is expiring so you should send them notice that you are not renewing their lease, that your loan requires you to occupy the home, and they are expected to be out by 11:59PM on the termination date.
I suspect they failed to pay rent because it's their last month and they (wrongly) assume you'll use the deposit for rent, leaving you high and dry with the cost of cleaning or repairs. You should be prepared to start the eviction immediately if she is not out after the lease terminates. Your reason for termination is that your loan requires you to occupy, and should have nothing to do with non-payment of rent.
I'm surprised the underwriter on your loan allowed it to close without a clear path for you to occupy.
The eviction moratorium has no bearing on your situation, you can choose to not renew the lease once it expires for whatever reason you like- or no reason at all. You don't have to explain why, you just don't renew it. Be sure to provide the tenant notice in writing in accordance with state law and your lease- I'd suggest you hire an attorney to serve the notice so that you have a professional third party who can back you up. Typically that'll just cost you a couple hundred bucks and you won't have to worry if you did it correctly.
Best of luck!
@Jennifer T. File an ejectment in Pa common pleas court will take longer and cost more money but guaranteed result.