If you are a landlord in Lehigh County that has been notified that their tenant filed an appeal from an eviction judgment entered in a Magistrate District Court (MDJ) to the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, you may be wondering what happens next. In this article, I will outline the procedures to follow when a tenant files an appeal in Lehigh County.
Whenever a tenant appeals an eviction judgment entered in the Magistrate District Court (MDJ) to the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, the eviction process stops if the tenant is granted a supersedeas. A tenant is able to obtain a supersedeas if they pay the lesser of the actual rent in arrears as determined by the Magistrate District Court (MDJ) or three month’s rent. However, in most cases, there is a process that tenants utilize to seek an exemption from this requirement. In the majority of cases, the tenant files a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. If this Petition is granted by the court, the tenant is only obligated to pay one-third of one month’s rent at the time their appeal is filed and the remaining two-thirds balance will be due within twenty (20) days. The tenant is then obligated to pay the ongoing rent payments each thirty (30) days after the appeal is filed. If the tenant ever defaults on any of the rent payments that become due after their appeal is filed, the landlord can terminate the tenant’s supersedeas and move forward with the eviction process back at the Magistrate District Court (MDJ). If you need any assistance terminating the tenant’s supersedeas, please feel free to call me at (610) 417-6345. Please also note that the landlord must file paperwork with the Lehigh County Clerk of Judicial Records to request the release of the rent deposits made by the tenant.
After the tenant appeals the eviction judgment in Lehigh County, the tenant is required to serve the Magistrate District Court (MDJ) and the landlord with the Notice of Appeal within ten (10) days and file an Affidavit of Service with the court. The Notice of Appeal must be served personally (hand-delivered) or by United States Certified Mail. An appeal can be stricken if the tenant fails to file an Affidavit of Service with the court within (10) days from the date their appeal is filed. The Notice of Appeal will inform the landlord that a Complaint must be filed within twenty (20) days from the date of service. Once the landlord files the Complaint, the tenant will then have twenty (20) days to file an Answer. If you are the landlord that is looking for an attorney to prepare and file the eviction complaint with the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, feel free to call me at (610) 417-6345.
Lehigh County automatically schedules the case for an Arbitration Hearing once a landlord-tenant appeal is filed. The Arbitration Hearing date is usually scheduled around 90-120 days from the date the appeal is filed with the court. The court will mail out a Case Management Order informing the parties of the date, time, and address of the hearing. A panel of three attorneys will conduct a hearing an issue an Arbitration Award on the hearing date. Either party has thirty (30) days to appeal the Arbitration Award to request a trial with a Lehigh County Judge. If the Arbitration Award is not appealed within thirty (30) days, the Arbitration Award becomes final, and it can be entered as a judgment. If the Arbitration Award grants possession to the landlord, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process if the tenant does not appeal the decision within thirty (30) days. If you are looking for representation in a landlord-tenant appeal in Lehigh County, feel free to call me at (610) 417-6345. I hope you found this article information so you can navigate the appeal process in Lehigh County.