Your Guide to Evictions in Philadelphia: What You Need to Know!

An eviction notice is placed on a house in Philadelphia.

Are you a Philadelphia landlord who needs to pursue eviction filings against your Philly renters? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you will learn all about the eviction process according to Pennsylvania state laws.  

Owning property and working as a landlord while facing nonpayment of rent gets rather tricky and will likely leave you with a headache. On top of that, the pandemic led to many complications for both renters and landlords seeking back rent. 

Yet, to protect your business as a landlord, you will need to learn all about evictions in Philadelphia. Here, we will cover the process of serving tenants with the notice to vacate, which forces renters to move out. You will also find out the laws behind eviction cases in Philadelphia as well as how to sell a property with tenants or sell real estate to tenants.

Ready to find out all about the eviction process? Let’s get started!

Evictions in Philadelphia

Eviction proceedings in Philadelphia may require legal representation with a landlord/tenant officer. To stay out of a landlord-tenant court, you may need to obtain a free consultation with a lawyer specializing in community legal services for landlords and renters. 

To begin eviction proceedings, the landlord needs to provide the tenant with a written notice to vacate when nonpayment of rent occurs. Generally, a written lease signed by the renter and landlord should include information about the number of days’ notice the landlord needs to provide for an eviction. 

In certain scenarios, the lease may waive the right to notice. A lease in oral agreement also counts in Philadelphia law. The next step if a tenant does not vacate is for the landlord to file an eviction complaint in the city of Philadelphia courthouse. 

Can You Evict Tenants in PA

Landlords can evict tenants in Pennsylvania. After sending an eviction notice to the tenant, the landlord can file an eviction complaint in the Philadelphia Municipal Court if the tenant has not moved out. The eviction court will send a copy of the complaint to the tenant in the US mail. The complaint will provide the court date and time the renter needs to show up for the court case. 

Further, the complaint will outline the problems behind why the landlord is seeking an eviction. When the landlord is evicting for any reason besides rental nonpayment and the lease doesn’t specify the amount of notice, the written notice should be:

  • 15 days if the lease is for one year or less
  • 30 days if the lease is for more than one year
An eviction notice is placed on a house in Philadelphia.

Serving Tenants Notice in PA

To begin the process of evicting tenants in Pennsylvania, landlords need to provide their renters with a written notice of eviction. However, tenant rights require you to follow the lease and give at least 10 days of notice for nonpayment of rent (unless stated differently in the lease).

If the lease doesn’t have the notice length and the eviction reasons go beyond rental nonpayment, you’ll need to give your tenants 15 days of notice for one-year leases or less. As previously explained, long-term leases for more than one year require 30 days of notice. An oral agreement for a lease still has the same legal requirements. 

If the case goes to court and the tenant does not appear for the court date, the renter will immediately lose the case and a default judgment gets entered against the tenant. 

Landlord Do’s and Don’ts in PA When Evicting Tenants

The landlord do’s for dealing with problematic tenants or those who haven’t paid their rent include potentially providing them with rental assistance programs or a more creative payment arrangement

Have your tenants consistently paid their rent in the past and have only recently had trouble with covering their bills? Then, you may want to create a rent reduction or rental assistance program until the tenants get their finances back to normal.

Other landlord do’s may include developing a “cash for keys” process for evicting tenants, which means the renter will get extra funds from the landlord to move out. You may also want to provide the renters with other affordable housing options so that they have somewhere to move and avoid homelessness.

Landlords may also consider pursuing mediation to resolve the issue of eviction. Essentially, that means hiring a mediator to listen to both sides and come up with a solution that satisfies the tenant and landlord.

Landlord don’ts when evicting tenants in Pennsylvania include the following. 

  • Don’t evict due to discriminatory practices that go against the Fair Housing Act.
  • Don’t discriminate when marketing a property following an eviction.
  • Don’t collect more than two months of rent as a security deposit since it’s against the law.
  • Don’t forget to provide notice about lead-based paint if the property was built before 1978.

Laws for Tenants During Eviction Period

The law requires the court to send a written complaint in the mail to the tenant with the court date, time, and reasons for the eviction outlined. Furthermore, the law in Pennsylvania mandates that the landlord provides a copy of the complaint directly to the tenant or posts a copy at the leased property. 

The Philadelphia Municipal Court Rule 111(A) and (B) states that these claims can get sent by mailing a copy to the tenant or via write servers. It also describes how any adult can deliver the claim copy using the rules of Chapter 400 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

Tenants must show up to the court on the required date and may need to move out by the eviction date if they lose their case.

Eviction Process in PA

Are you still wondering how to evict a squatter? You will need to follow the main steps of the eviction process in Pennsylvania. The steps include:

  • The landlord serving the tenant a written notice of eviction.
  • The landlord filing a complaint with the courts if the issue is still unresolved.
  • The court holds a hearing about the eviction case and makes a final judgment.
  • The court issues a writ of possession, which is the final notice for the renter to move out.
  • The property and full possession are returned to the landlord.

The eviction process can last one or two months until the tenant has to move out. However, if the tenant files an appeal, the process can take longer. 

Alternative Options to Evicting Tenants

There are ways to avoid evicting tenants and solve the issues at hand. If your tenant isn’t paying rent on time, you can send online rent payments. If the rent is late, you can send a notice by email, which may solve the problem. 

Instead of evicting tenants, you can also hire a mediator to fix the problem. The mediator should come up with a solution that both sides can agree to. 

Another good option is to have a month-to-month lease agreement. If the tenant doesn’t pay rent or fails to meet the requirements in the lease, you won’t need to evict. You can merely refuse to extend the lease for the following month. 

Selling House with Tenants Attached

If you are selling a house with tenants attached, you will need to inform your buyer that the tenant has a lease and can reside at the property until the lease expires. 

Before you sell your house, you should consider various factors when selling a place with tenants attached. For instance, are there enough buyers interested in a property with a rental agreement in place? Does the renter have a month-to-month lease agreement or is the lease longer?

If the tenant has a month-to-month lease, you can simply end the lease by giving the tenant notice based on state law.  

Selling House to Tenants

If your tenants want to buy your house, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps. First, you should decide whether you want to sell your house to tenants and end your job as a landlord.

The second step is to start working with your team. Hire a realtor, a real estate attorney, and a title company. You may also need to get a home inspector if the purchase and sales agreement includes a home inspection clause. 

You can also negotiate the sales price of the property before signing a purchase and sales agreement. You will need to review any documentation that the buyer’s attorney put together before signing anything. The last step includes the closing. Your attorney and title company will work with you to complete everything on closing day.

Conclusion

Evictions in Philadelphia are not a simple process, and you’ll need to follow the steps outlined in the guide above. If you’re feeling like it’s time to get out of the landlord business, you can also try selling your house to the tenants.

If your tenants aren’t interested, you can wait until the lease expires and then seek out cash home buyers in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, to sell a house fast in Springfield, you should speak to real estate investors or cash home buyers.

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