What happens when a tenant appeals an eviction judgment for possession in PA?

Basics of the Eviction Process in Pennsylvania

When a landlord has a tenant who fails to pay rent, a landlord must file an eviction proceeding at the local magistrate court that has jurisdiction over the property. Once a complaint it filed, a hearing is scheduled.

The hearing is very straight forward. The landlord testifies that the tenant has failed to pay rent and a judgment is entered in the landlord’s favor for the amount of rent owed plus court costs and the court will grant the landlord possession.

If an appeal is not filed by the tenant within ten (10) days and the tenant remains in possession of the property, the landlord must then file an Order of Possession with the court so a constable to sheriff can perform the actual eviction to forcibly remove the tenant from the property.

Appeal Process When Tenant Appeals a Judgment Granting Possession

Although the tenant has failed to pay rent, the tenant can exercise their right to appeal the judge’s decision. Some tenants can be very good at “gaming the system” or taking advantage of their right to due process of law. The landlord-tenant appeal process is very aggravating for most landlords who simply want to remove a tenant who has stopped paying rent.

After the magistrate judge enters a judgment and awards a landlord possession, the tenant has the right to file an appeal to the possession portion of the judgment within ten (10) days. After the tenth day, the tenant can still appeal the money portion of the judgment within thirty (30) days of the judgement, but the tenant can no longer appeal the award of possession. Rule 1002.

A tenant would file an appeal with the Court of Common Pleas in the county the property is located in such as the Lehigh or Northampton County Court of Common Pleas. When a tenant files an appeal, they ask the court to enter a Rule to Show Cause, which would require a landlord to file a civil complaint in the court within twenty (20) days. Rule 1004. An appeal is conducted de novo, which means a new hearing is required. Rule 1007.

When an appeal is filed by a tenant, the tenant is required to post with the court the amount of rent in arrears or three (3) months rent, whichever is less. Rule 1008(B).  If rent is not posted with the court, the tenant will not be granted a supersedeas, which is a term that essentially means that the constable or sheriff cannot move forward with the actual eviction process while the appeal is pending. Furthermore, the tenant must deliver the notice of appeal to the magistrate court to be granted the suersedeas and serve a copy upon the landlord.

When a tenant fails to post rent with the court, the landlord can terminate the superseadas by filing a praecipe (“document”) with the court. Once this is done, the tenant’s appeal is terminated and the eviction process can proceed.

Indigent Tenants Filing Appeals

Where things can get more aggravating is if a tenant is claiming they are indigent and cannot afford to post the lesser of the rent in arrears or three (3) months rent. Under Pennsylvania law, the tenant is permitted to submit an affidavit stating they do not have the financial ability to post with the court the lesser of three (3) months rent or the actual rent in arrears and the court would permit the appeal to proceed.

If the tenant files this affidavit and has not paid rent in the month the appeal is filed, they’re merely required to pay one-third (1/3) of their monthly rent payment at the time of appeal. The remaining two-thirds (2/3) must then be posted within twenty (20) days of the appeal.  The tenant must then continue to pay rent every thirty (30) days after filing the appeal with the court. Rule 1008(C)(3).

If there tenant ever fails to pay rent with the court as they’re required to do during the appeal, the landlord can file a praecipe (“document”) asking the court to terminate the appeal so the eviction can proceed.

Getting Rent the Tenant Posts

In order to obtain rent after a tenant files an appeal, a landlord must file an application with the court so the sums posted by the tenant can be released from escrow. Rule 1008(C)(7).

Have Tenant Problems? Contact Me

If you are a landlord that has a tenant who filed an appeal after you obtained a judgment for possession, feel free to contact me at (484) 362-9286 or email me.

Don’t let your problem tenant take advantage of you. I can help you file a complaint in court, terminate the tenant’s appeal, proceed with the eviction, obtain any rent the tenant has posted with the court, and potentially collect the balance of the judgment awarded.

My office is located in Bethlehem, PA and I practice in Northampton County and Lehigh County.  I am happy to serve clients located in the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton areas.

How many work days must be missed to obtain wage-loss benefits?

If you have been injured at work and the injury has caused you to miss work, you are wondering if you are required to be compensated for those days missed.

In Pennsylvania, all employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance. If you are involved in a work-related injury, report the injury to a manager and/or supervisor immediately and make sure that the employer reports the injury to their workers’ compensation carrier. The insurance carrier then has 21 days to accept or deny the claim.

If the claim is accepted, you may be entitled to wage loss benefits depending on how many days you have been out of work. Wage loss benefits are payable on the 8th day after the injury. Once you are out of work for 14 days, then wage loss benefits are retroactive and wage loss benefits can be received for the first seven days as well.

In other words, if your injury caused you to miss only four days of work, you will not receive wage loss benefits.  If your injury caused you to miss 10 days of work, you can receive 3 days of lost wages.  If you injury caused you to miss 14 days of work, then you can receive lost wages for all 14 days. Wage loss benefits are typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum (currently $858 per week).

You will know whether you’ll receive wage loss benefits once you receive the workers’ comp insurance company’s acceptance or denial of your claim. If your claim is denied, speak to a workers’ comp attorney immediately. You may need to file a Claim Petition and litigate the matter to receive wage loss benefits.

If you experienced a work-related injury in Pennsylvania, please feel free to contact me for a consultation. Our office is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and we are happy to assist injured employees throughout the Lehigh Valley area including Easton and Allentown.

What happens during an appeal to the Board of Review?

If you did not receive the outcome you had hoped for after your PA UC referee hearing, you have an additional appeal to the UC Board of Review. There are 15 days to file an appeal to the Board of Review after the UC referee has mailed their decision. The Referee’s Decision and Order will include instructions on filing an appeal to the Board of Review. An appeal can be filed simply by writing a letter providing your case information and the reason for your appeal.

It is often helpful to seek an attorney to file an appeal so they can clearly and correctly cite the applicable law that applies to the claim and establish a legal argument on why an employee should receive unemployment benefits based on PA UC Law.

No further hearings are conducted after the referee hearing. In fact, the referee hearing is generally the only opportunity for the Claimant and employer to admit evidence into the record. While a request for a remand hearing to take further testimony or evidence on an issue is permitted in some cases, it is rarely granted by the Board of Review.

Additionally, a party can request the Board’s permission to submit a legal brief to aid the Board in deciding the case. Submitting a brief can help maximize your chances of successfully appealing a case since a brief with summary of facts, statement of issues, and legal argument would be outlined in a organized fashion for the Board to review when they examine the case.

The Board of Review is a three-member panel that decides UC appeals after the referee hearing. The Board of Review will review the record and determine if the referee’s findings of fact and conclusions of law are supported by the testimony and evidence of the parties.  The Board of Review will receive a transcript of the referee hearing to read and they will also look at all of the documents and exhibits that are part of the record. Once an appeal is filed with the Board of Review, it often can take up to 75 days before the Board issues a decision.

If you are interested in filing an appeal to the Board of Review, please contact me at (484) 362-9286 to discuss your case.

What is a good reason to appeal a denial of UC benefits?

If you have been denied PA UC benefits, you are probably wondering what you will need to prove to be awarded benefits. There are several reasons a person’s unemployment benefits may be denied. The two most common sections of the PA UC Law are 402(b) and 402(e). Below are a list of reasons, arguments, and defenses to raise if you have been denied UC benefits.

Willful Misconduct – Section 402(e)

402(e) deals with the issue of willful misconduct. The most common situation where willful misconduct is found is in the case of a violation of an employer’s work rule. The employer will seek to deny benefits by showing the existence of the rule, the reasonableness of the rule, awareness of the rule (typically by signing an acknowledgement of receiving an employee handbook or prior warnings), and a violation of that rule.

Common defenses to willful misconduct include lack of awareness of the rule or that the violation thereof was unintentional. Other potential defenses include the employer not applying the work rules uniformly to all employees. Additionally, mere poor work performance is not a basis to deny an employee’s unemployment benefits provided that the employee worked to the best of their ability.

Voluntarily Quitting – Section 402(b)

Generally, if you voluntarily leave or quit your employment, you cannot receive unemployment benefits. However, there is an exception to this rule. In the event that you can establish that you had “necessitous and compelling reasons” for voluntarily leaving and you “exhausted all alternatives” prior to leaving the position, you may be entitled to receive unemployment benefits even if you quit your job. These types of issues are decided on a case-by-case basis and are primarily are left within the discretion of the UC referee or Board of Review. You must also establish that you are able and available for suitable work in order to receive UC benefits.

Discuss Your Case

If you would like to discuss your case with me during a consultation, feel free to call me at (484) 362-9286. I will be happy to discuss your case and inform you how your case will be decided depending on your circumstances.

What is the UC Service Center?

In Pennsylvania, the UC Service Center is responsible for processing unemployment compensation claims. They are the agency that receives applications for unemployment benefits. The UC Service Center assigns cases to their representatives for investigation and determination. The investigation consists of the representative asking the employee the reason for their application and confirming the reason for the Claimant’s application with the employer.

The claims representative is then required to issue a decision on a Claimant’s eligibility based on the information they received from both the employer and the employee. If a party disagrees with the decision made by the UC Service Center, they have the right to appeal the decision within 15 days to request a UC referee hearing.

UC claims representatives often have to decide claims based on incomplete information or conflicting information. Unfortunately, the claims representative often resolves conflicts in favor of the employer. However, by exercising your right to appeal, you’ll have an opportunity to present your case to the UC referee who will hear testimony from both parties and decide the case.

If you have been denied unemployment benefits, feel free to contact me at (484) 362-9286 to discuss your case.

How do temporary workers’ compensation benefits work?

I was injured on the job and received a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable, what does this mean?

A Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable is a way for an employer’s insurance company to begin paying your wage-loss benefits without having to accept liability for the claim. The insurance company is essentially agreeing to pay wage-loss benefits on a temporary basis while they continue to investigate the claim and reserve the right to deny your claim if they believe that your injury was not work-related or for any other basis to deny a claim.

Temporary workers compensation benefits last for only 90 days. In order to stop your benefits, the employer must send a Notice of Denial within the 90 day period or a Notice of Stopping Temporary Compensation Payable within 5 days of the 90-day period elapsing. If neither notice if received within the required time period, workers’ compensation benefits will continue.

If you have received either a Notice of Denial or Notice of Stopping Temporary Compensation Payable, please contact me at (484) 362-9286. You have the right to file a Claim Petition seeking a judge’s order requiring the employer to continue paying your workers’ compensation benefits.