No one likes to think about the possibility that a tenant might not pay their rent. Unfortunately, the reality of being a landlord often includes knowing and using the eviction process to remove stubborn tenants. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot just tell a tenant to hit the road after he or she has failed to pay rent. Following the proper steps to evict your tenant will help keep you within the bounds of the law. If you need to evict a tenant in Pennsylvania, follow these steps.
- Draft a Notice to Quit. A Notice to Quit is a document that gives the tenant a warning that he or she is going to be evicted. Your Notice to Quit should include the name and contact information of the landlord, the address of the rental property, the tenant’s name, the date by which the tenant must move out, and the reason for eviction. If the tenant is late on rent, the notice should also include the amount of rent owed. In Pennsylvania, you must give your tenant at least 30 days’ notice before eviction if the lease was for one year or more and 15 days’ notice if the lease was for less than one year.
- Serve your Notice. You must serve your tenant a physical copy of the Notice to Quit. You may personally deliver the notice to your tenant, or post the notice on a visible space on the property, such as the door. Do not mail the notice. Write down the time that service occurred and, if a tenant was not personally served, photograph where you posted the notice.
- Contact an eviction lawyer. If the tenant does not move out by the Notice to Quit date, you’ll need a lawyer to file a Landlord/Tenant Complaint with the magistral judge. The judge will schedule a hearing within 15 days of receiving the complaint.
- Attend court. If you are not working with a company providing property management in South Philly, you will want to personally attend court along with your lawyer. Bring evidence that you served the notice and information on why the tenant is being evicted. The judge will hear all evidence and make a decision within 3 days of the hearing.
- Claim your Order for Possession. You and your tenant will receive a copy of the judgment in the mail. If the judgment is in your favor, the magistrate will issue an Order for Possession 10 days after the ruling. After 10 days have passed, both you and the tenant will receive an Order for Possession that states the date you will reclaim the property. The tenant may use these ten days to appeal the ruling. If the tenant does not appeal the ruling or the appeal is denied, and they still refuse to move, the tenant will be forcibly removed by the constable.
The eviction process is long, arduous, and annoying. At DJCRE, we provide complete property management in South Philly — which includes placing great tenants who will pay their rent and the entirety of the eviction process if they don’t. Give us a call today at 215-720-1097 to learn more!