First eviction- Pennsylvania

4 Replies

So this tenant is now on a month to month lease- she is consistently late with rent- every other month in fact. (As of today 5 days late.) She is smoking in the house which is against her lease, she has damaged two doors. She is disruptive at night- my other tenant has called the police on her several times for loud and disruptive behavior in the middle of the night.... So she needs to GO. I don't want to serve her with a notice to evict due to failure to pay rent- I'm afraid she will simply cough up the money and be in compliance so I will have no grounds to evict her. Instead I want to simply end the month to month lease- Pennsylvania law says I must give 15 days notice to end the month to month lease but I must give her 30 days notice to vacate. 

Could use any bit of guidance/advice you have.  Thank you. 

Hi Beth -- your next step here should be to consult an attorney on the proper protocol for getting someone out of the home. If they have been as disruptive as you make them out to be it seems less likely that they will be compliant with you choosing to to  not renew their lease. I am unsure about PA, but some states have laws that protect the tenants from this kind of eviction if they are able to show that they have a hardship or will be unlikely to find a new place in time. You could be stuck with her for longer then. The eviction process is best left to professionals.

I’d non renew and if she won’t leave after the 30 days then file eviction . The issue really comes down to money because a non renew doesn’t account for getting back pay -an eviction does . 

Hi Beth. I am a landlord here in Pennsylvania (Johnstown) also. Forget the lawyer bit, as others have suggested. You can get your tenant out by yourself a number of ways all by yourself. First, what does lease specify as far as when rent is due? I hope you have a lease with this tenant and that it clearly spells out when the rent is due. In PA, when a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may evict for failure to pay ((68 P.S. §§ 250.501 (b)). You can post a Notice To Quit yourself (front and back doors) or pay the Constable in your Magisterial District to post it for you. While it cost a few bucks to have the Constable go out, once a tenant sees this court officer-dressed like a cop-they get the idea 'you mean business.' The second part is tenant payment: once you make the decision to evict do not accept any money from the tenant, as it will negate any eviction efforts you have made. 

If you choose to do the 15 day eviction for failure to follow the lease rules, this can be a bit more difficult, especially if the tenant chooses to fight in court. You will still win in court, if you are prepared and follow the law, but know this: in PA, even after you win a judgment against a tenant you will never see a penny of the judgment. PA has the slackest laws in trying to recover judgments. We have tried working with state legislators to change this, but none of the three we have spoken to have done one damned thing to help landlords in this state. 

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