Landlord-Tenant Law Articles

What To Do When A Tenant Appeals and Lies About Paying Rent

This article is intended for Pennsylvania landlord-tenant appeals from the Magistrate Court to the Court of Common Pleas. Particularly, when a tenant submits a false affidavit to the court alleging that rent was paid in the month their appeal was filed. This article reviews the applicability of Rule 1008 and potential remedies.

I see it happen all the time — a landlord successfully obtains a judgment to evict a tenant based on the tenant’s failure to pay rent, the tenant files an appeal, and lies to the court saying they paid rent for the month the appeal was filed. What is the landlord suppose to do?

Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Appeal Overview

When a tenant appeals an eviction judgment within ten (10) days of the Magistrate Hearing to the Court of Common Pleas, the Pennsylvania Rules of Procedure require the tenant to pay the lesser of the rent actually in arrears or …

Continue Reading »

What To Do When A Tenant Withholds Rent

Is a tenant permitted to withhold rent in Pennsylvania if there are problems with the rental property?  In some cases, a tenant can withhold rent, but proper procedure must be followed. In most cases, tenants do not follow the proper procedure in withholding rent and are in breach of the Lease Agreement by withholding rent.

A typical scenario occurs when a tenant has a complaint about a certain problem existing on the property such as mold, lack of heat, water leaks, insect or rodent infestation, or code violations. The tenant has a duty to inform the landlord of the problem and give the landlord a reasonable period of time to fix the problem. In the event the landlord is not diligent in fixing the problem within a reasonable period of time, the tenant is able to exercise their remedies under law.

The tenant generally has three remedies when a landlord …

Continue Reading »

What To Do When A Tenant Sues You For Their Security Deposit

In Pennsylvania, a tenant is required to provide the landlord with their forwarding address in writing in order to receive the return of their security deposit.  Once the landlord receives the tenant’s forwarding address, the landlord must then return the unused portion of the tenant’s security deposit with an itemized list of damages within thirty (30) days. A landlord is permitted to use the tenant’s security deposit to cover items related to physical damages, unpaid rent, and unpaid utilities that the tenant is responsible for under the terms of the lease. If an itemized list of damages is not sent to the tenant within thirty (30) days of receipt of the tenant’s forwarding address, the landlord will forfeit the right to withhold any portion of the tenant’s security deposit and the tenant is able to seek double the amount of the security deposit.

What if I sent the tenant a

Continue Reading »

Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Laws Regarding Abandoned Property

Throughout the years, Pennsylvania’s laws regarding abandoned property of a tenant have faced uncertainty. If property was left behind by a tenant, landlords were unsure of what their duties were with respect to that property, at what point the property would be considered abandoned by a tenant, and whether they were permitted to dispose of or sell property that was left behind.

That uncertainty has been resolved with the passage of Act 129 of 2012, the Abanonded Property Bill. Act 129 was signed by Governor Corbett on July 5, 2012, and went into effect September 2012. Act 129 deals with the disposition of personal property left behind after a tenant relinquishes possession of real property.

When Personal Property Becomes Abandoned

There are two ways where a tenant will have relinquished possession of real property: (1) an order of possession is entered by a magistrate court following a hearing, …

Continue Reading »

How To Collect a Landlord-Tenant Judgment in Pennsylvania

Many landlords know how to file an eviction action against a tenant who has failed to pay their rent. After the tenant is evicted, the landlord is completely aggravated since their rental property has not produced any income for months while the tenant has stayed in possession of the property without paying rent. The situation could also cause the landlord’s mortgage to fall into default only making matters worse.

Following the eviction hearing, the landlord will likely obtain a judgment for possession and for the rent in arrears that is owed. Most landlords simply want possession of the property back so they can locate a qualified tenant who has the ability to pay rent and they give up on collecting on the judgment. Collecting a judgment from a tenant can be quite a daunting task. However, it is not impossible and hopeless.

Pennsylvania Law Allows Landlords To Garnish Wages

Pennsylvania …

Continue Reading »

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 …

Continue Reading »