Giving Notice to Tenant

9 Replies

I inherited a bad tenant with a multi-unit I recently purchased. The first month, October, he paid by the 18th. I tried to work with him for November rent, saying he could make 2 payments as long as the rent was paid in full by November 5th. Seeing as it's the 4th and I haven't seen a penny from him, I'm going to assume his entire rent check won't be in my mailbox tomorrow morning.

This tenant is currently on a month to month lease with 60 day notice terminate. Since his lease began on the 1st of the month, am I correct in assuming that even if I give notice now, the earliest I can have him out is January 31, 2017?

Since I'm assuming that's the case, I'm planning on waiting until the end of the month and giving him notice before December 1st in the hopes I can work with him to collect rent for November, because based on the way things are going, I'm highly doubtful I'm going to see rent checks for December and January.

So, my main question is, if it gets to January 31, and he's still in possession of the unit, do I have to file for eviction or can I go straight to the police to enforce this?

Any insights or advice on this would be extremely helpful, thank you.

Consult with an attorney about PA landlord-tenant law.  It sounds like you can give notice to vacate now. Don't ever accept any partial rent.  The 60-day notice likely only applies if payments are not delinquent. 

Always have rent due on the first of the month with no grace period. There are legal reasons for doing so. Once again, never accept partial rent payments. 

Evictions are generally civil matters, not criminal matters involving the police.

Get the deadbeat out as fast as possible. 

@Account Closed

Can you elaborate on the legal reasons for no grace period? 

And the reason I was leaning towards just giving him the non-renewal notice is based solely on his rent, $750 a month. I'll likely spend more on an attorney, or at least similar if I choose to evict. That's why I asked about needing to evict at the end of the lease, as in if I give him the non-renewal notice and he doesn't leave, will I still have to evict him? if that's the case, I'll get the the eviction started immediately.

Thanks for the help

Hi, I'm in New York State. A year ago I purchased some Muli-family units, all with inherited tenants. NY allows landlords to file evictions themselves and I have done many without an attorney. I just finished on that I gave a 30 day notice back on August 14th ( in NY it's 30 days not 60). They paid well but had a filthy apartment with lots of sketchy people coming and going. They were told to be out by September 30th. So at that point I had to file papers with the court for an eviction. ( if they stay beyound lease it's called a holdover). I got a judgement but the judge gave them until the end of October to leave. They left late on the 1st. If they had not left I would have given warrant to the Marshal.

My multi-units are not in the best part of town and my tenants (at least some) live from paycheck tp paycheck. I try to run my landlord business a business but I also have a bit of a kind heart. I do take partial payments sometimes depending on the situation. But they have to be caught up by the end of the month, if not I'll start an eviction for not pay (called a pay or quit). Once they have been served the pay or quit demand (also called a 3 day in NY) If you do accept any money from them you have to start the process all over again. If this mas my tenant, I would just do the pay or quit.

John,

By what day does the lease say the tenant must pay his rent? The 5th?

If there is no rent by the 5th, under the PA Landlord Tenant Act (68 P.S. §§ 250.501 (b)) you can give him a 10 day notice to quit for failure to pay rent. If after the 10 days, he still hasn't moved, go to the magistrate and open a legal case against him.  Have the constable there serve him the notice of the court date (usually 2 weeks). Be sure you have a signed lease showing when rent is due. If you do, act to get him out. 

There is no 60 day waiting period when the tenant fails to pay rent. You may be thinking you have to give him 60 days because the lease says you must if you decide to terminate the contract, but if he has not paid the rent on time, he has defaulted on the terms and you can-and should-sue him for possession.

Remember, once you file for possession with the court, accept NO more money from him, or the whole saga starts all over.

@Tim Sabo

Thank you, I sent the notice to quit out today, so I may be able to slip by without going to court, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll be looking up which court I need to file with and I'll be sure to read up on the PA Landlord Tenant Act. I've read through it before, but I'd like to be as prepared as I can.

Edit: I sent it certified mail with return receipt as well as just first class mail, so I'll have a record of when he receives it.

In PA, there are magisterial districts for each town, often more than one in a town. Simply look in the phone book under local government for magistrate offices and call to see which one handles that part of your town. Go there and file if he doesn't move within the 10 days (he probably won't).

Some tenants think they know the law and snicker if you post the notice yourself. Fine. Let them. When the constable comes knocking and serves him, he'll know you means business. Most of them start packing then. They are not about to go before the judge and try to explain why they didn't pay the rent they agree-contractually-to pay you at the set time.

One note: be prepared. Have the lease, a copy of the notice you posted on his door with the date. And any history you can remember, write down. You want to be professional and prepared. Let him ramble and interrupt in court. You, keep your cool, you're going to win. Be smart, be prepared, get possession.

I've been to court five times in PA; won every time. 

Good luck pardner! Tim

I believe in PA the lease can also have the tenant waive the 10 day notice to quit, in which case things can speed up a bit.

If they contact you, try to get a promissory note from them saying they will pay by X date or vacate.

This is what was recommended by local landlord legend Don Beck in his book.

Grace periods can interfere with your ability to begin evictions.

If you give him a 60-day notice now and he doesn't leave you'll still have to evict him. (I'm in OH so you need to check PA law.)

Yes, attorneys can be expensive but if you get ahead of a problem and call your attorney first it can actually save you a lot of money. (Same when you need a CPA).

I can tell you about the guy who could have paid me $1,000 at the beginning of his problems but chose not to and it cost $10,000 later on, but that's another story....

From what you said about this guy it's obvious you need to begin eviction right now. 

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