Evicted Once Before But...

9 Replies

Hi All,

Few days ago I purchased a multifamily [in PA] and inherited a tenant who is late on his November rent.  Digging into it a bit further, since moving in March 2016 he's been habitually late and in Jan/Feb 2017 was given an eviction.  Some how he and the previous landlord came to terms and for the last 6 months or so he's been on time.  However, he's now slipped into lateness.  Having spoken to him, he's claiming some bank issues (no specifics given).

It's now the 19th of November.  Having learned he's been habitually late and once before served an eviction notice [from seller of property], I don't have an appetite to keep him any longer.  Question:

Notice to Vacate always seem to read: Pay up to avoid eviction or leave in X days.  Can the notice be written so it says pay up and just leave (not giving them the option to stay)?  He's currently on a month to month lease and landlord/tenant are supposed to give 60 days notice to leave if the lease is being abided by.  In this case, because he hasn't paid rent can I just tell him to leave in X days?

you can give him 60 days notice to leave even if he has paid the rent , since its month to month

Do you suggest issuing both a letter to vacate and a notice that his lease won't be renewed?

No, tenants have the right to catch up prior to evicting. If you want any hope of seeing any money begin with the pay or quit notice and if he pays then give him the 60 day notice to non renew. You will not see any more money after that.

If he does not pay continue with the eviction to make sure it goes on his record and at the same time you serve the 60 day notice to non renew before the end of November.

Simply serving the 60 day notice to non renew will not guarantee he will leave resulting in you having to evict if he refuses to leave at the end of January.

Following through with the eviction process may motivate him to leave sooner there by costing you less in lost rental income. What ever you do you must not renew his M2M lease, get rid of him regardless of whether he pays or not.

Make sure you only use M2M leases in the future for all tenants if you wish to remain in control of your business.

Be firm and send him a letter ending your lease. Offer to give him a reference.

In CA it is 60 days but you can help him to move out sooner if he finds something before.

@Nabeel M.

In Pennsylvania, the tenant generally has the right to cure a default that relates to failure to pay. This is true even until the very last second when the sheriff comes knocking on the door. But do note that the tenant must not only pay the rent but also all other costs (e.g. filing fee for the eviction complaint, cost to have the sheriff served, etc.). Depending on the lease, the tenant may also need to pay any attorney fees you incurred. Because of these facts, it is very difficult for the tenant to cure the default. 

In terms of your specific situation, it will depend on the language of the lease and whether it has any clause about renewals, etc. Hard to say without looking at it. You may be able to argue, for example, that the current month-to-month lease is different from the written lease that requires a 60-day notice. But it all depends on the exact language of the lease and the factual history.  

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it as legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

I strongly recommend you find a landlord/tenant attorney and get their advice about the process and the best way to handle this situation.  Your questions lead me to believe you don't have one, and its essential to have one if you're going to be a landlord.  Especially in a tenant friendly state.

I believe you probably want to both start the eviction process and terminate the lease.  Given the 60 day timeline and assuming the law is the same as here (the timeline is based on when rent is due) and I'm assuming rent is due on the first, your 60 day notice would end the tenancy at the end of January.  So you still have to deal with Nov, Dec and Jan rent.  The eviction process for non-payment would be your tool to get rent for those three months.  The termination of the lease gets the tenant out as soon as possible.

@Nabeel M. - get a lawyer on this one. I had the EXACT same issue, and recently got the guy out (as in 10 days ago recent). If you go through the magistrate's office AND he appeals you're going to wind up in Common Pleas court (this is NOT a DIY court, you want a competent lawyer that knows how this works).

I inherited a "professional tenant" and now we are in the rehab phase... even more costly. Fortunately there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Lastly, Ive said it before, but you CAN do some level of screening while in the due-diligence phase (at least in PA) using the PA Judicial search (google that). Look under "magisterial / landlord-tenant" (not exact, but close) and you can put in the names on the leases of the properties your considering. Its a decent free tool. (i.e. "tuition" as some folks say).

Good luck

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