Many landlords in Northampton County, Pennsylvania are receiving notice that their tenant has appealed a Magistrate District Court (MDJ) judgment to the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas and they are wondering what steps they have to take next. First, when an appeal is filed, a supersedeas is signed by the Northampton County Prothonotary, which is a court order which places a stay on the eviction proceedings. This means that the landlord cannot evict the tenant once a tenant files an appeal. A tenant is typically required to deposit rent with the Prothonotary in order to obtain a supersedeas.
If the Magistrate Court found that the tenant was past due on their rent at the time of the Magistrate District Court (MDJ) hearing, the tenant is obligated to deposit the lesser of the actual rent in arrears or three month’s rent at the time their appeal is filed in Northampton County in order to obtain a supersedeas. There is a process that tenants can utilize to seek an exemption from that requirement, which is known as a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.
If the tenant files a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and obtains the court’s approval, the tenant is only obligated to pay one-third of one month’s rent at the time the appeal is filed to obtain a supersedeas and the two-thirds balance becomes due twenty (20) days later. Then each successive thirty (30) days, the tenant must continue to pay the ongoing rent to the Northampton County Prothonotary. If the tenant ever defaults on the rent payments that become due after their appeal is filed, the landlord is permitted to terminate the supersedeas and the landlord is then authorized to proceed with the eviction process back at the Magistrate District Court (MDJ). You can call me (610) 417-6345 if you need assistance terminating a tenant’s supersedeas.
After the tenant files an appeal, the tenant must serve the Magistrate District Court (MDJ) and the landlord with a copy of the Notice of Appeal. Service of the Notice of Appeal must be made by personal service (hand-delivery) or by mailing a copy of the Notice of Appeal by United States Certified Mail. An Affidavit of Service must then be filed with the court within ten (10) days of the appeal being filed. The Notice of Appeal will also contain a Rule to File Complaint, which informs the landlord that a Complaint must be filed with the court within twenty (20) days from the date the appeal is served by the tenant. If you are interested in retaining an attorney in Northampton County to represent you in the appeal, feel free to call me at (610) 417-6345. After the landlord files the Complaint with the court, the tenant will have twenty (20) days to file an Answer.
If the tenant files an Answer and continues to deposit their ongoing rent payments with the court, the tenant will remain protected from the eviction. In order to evict the tenant, the landlord must obtain a court order granting the landlord a judgment for possession. The landlord is required to file paperwork with the court to obtain a hearing date. If you are a landlord that is seeking a court hearing to evict a tenant in Northampton County, please feel free to call me at (610) 417-6345 to discuss your case. I hope you have found the information outlined in this article helpful. I would be happy to discuss any landlord-tenant issues that you may be experiencing in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.