Nuisance property - Eviction Questions - PA

5 Replies

I have a tenant who has been in place for 3 years and a few weeks.  May 1 I signed a 6 month renewal. 

1 week ago today while I was waiting for appliance delivery the neighbors decided it would be a good time to tell me how much of an issue the tenants had been. Monday they went to the city. 

City has declared these tenants a nuisance property. I have been sent a certified letter of such. 

From what I'm reading I can serve a 10 day notice to vacate for conducting an illegal act.

Can anyone confirm this?

This is the sample letter that site provides

They owe partial rent today, so I'm hoping to post/deliver when I collect rent.

Hello Shannon,

I'm not to familiar with Pennsylvania tenant laws but the lease should also state you have to right to give notice based on unlawful acts.  Either way, I recommend contacting a real estate attorney to confirm and provide the notice to give the tenants.  It doesn't take much for tenants to have rights violated so it's always best to have assistance from an attorney or this could drag out for months.  Just my opinion.  Good luck

@Shannon Trivett

Your lease form should allow you to evict the tenant in these situations. Now it may be the case that you have a crazy neighbor. But 26 police calls are a lot. 

In terms of what a municipality can do, there's a lot of caselaw on that topic. The basic law on this is that the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitution has a Due Process Clause that provides owners with certain rights. So if a municipality tries to condemn or declare your property as a nuisance, there are numerous steps they must take before they do so. Since I'm not your attorney and I haven't reviewed all the facts, I cannot say whether the city took such steps.

Note that the 10 Day Notice only applies to certain illegal acts relating to drugs. It doesn't apply to everything and I believe it only applies to convictions. Never had to rely on that provision so I can't recall all the details. But I would double check to make sure. 

But yes, you basically want your lease to cover these situations.  

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 for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

I would show them the nuisance letter, and let them know that because of that, they have to vacate. If they wish to fight it, you should notify the city of your intent to appeal. If they do not leave you can lose access to the property. PA laws are a pain, so ensuring you read the laws is a plus. An attorney can always help but they cost money if you have not retained one yet. 

What "illegal act" are they guilty of? Why did your neighbors wait until now to report them to the City? 

I think you're on track but I'm surprised to hear cops were called 26 times in three years and nobody told you about it. I highly recommend you introduce yourself to the neighbors, apologize for the issues, and ensure they have your contact information if anything like this happens again.

@Nathan G. at this time they are only legally guilty of being a nuisance.

I was approached by the neighbors on the Friday preceding the Monday thy went to the city. After talking with the code enforcement office it sounds like they are generally bitchy neighbors who are never happy and he knows that. 

  I did convey to the neighbors that I could not fix a problem I was unaware of. I had made plans with the tenant to do  inspections every other week  to ensure there we no other occupants not listed on the lease.   Neighbors had claimed an additional 3 adults and 2 children were living with the tenants.   Water usage and visual inspections during repairs support the tenants claim of just themselves and their own children. 

It's just a sloppy mess.   I've since called the tenant and let them know the city will remove them via lock out if there is anymore trouble and I encouraged them to relocate.