Are you a property owner attempting to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, violation of their lease, or something else?
Pennsylvania law states that landlords cannot take self-help measures to evict tenants, such as removing tenant's property or changing locks to force a tenant out of the property.
It's essential to follow Pennsylvania's specific eviction laws laid out in the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. Keep reading for a quick overview of the eviction process.
What Is a Notice to Quit?
The first step in the eviction process is serving a Notice to Quit. This is a document you must deliver to the tenant that notifies them of the eviction and their deadline for moving out.
There are a few different reasons why you'd use a Notice to Quit, including:
- The term of the lease has ended and will not automatically renew
- The tenant fails to pay rent following the terms of the rental agreement or lease
- The tenant has violated the conditions of the rental agreement or lease—for example, by allowing a person who is not on the lease to live in the property or keeping a pet on-premises when the lease prohibits pets
Before serving the Notice to Quit, you must determine the tenant's date to move out of the property.
When Must the Tenant Move Out?
The move-out date deadline will depend on the reason for the eviction. It's essential to establish this initially, as it must be specified in the Notice to Quit.
Nonpayment of Rent
According to the law, tenants have ten days from the date they receive the Notice to Quit to either move out of the property or pay the rent. This deadline may be different if the tenant previously agreed to it in the rental agreement or lease.
Violation of Lease or Rental Agreement
If the tenant violates the rental agreement or lease, you must give them at least 15 days to vacate the property if the lease terms are one year or less. For leases of one year or more, they get 30 days to leave.
Serving a Notice to Quit per Eviction Laws
Pennsylvania eviction laws allow you to serve a Notice to Quit via three different methods:
- Deliver the notice to the tenant in person
- Leave the notice at the property, such as the door of the rental unit
- Posting or securing the notice in a visible location on the property
When you serve the notice, make sure you keep a written record or photograph how you serve it. In your notes, specify whether it was served in person, who served it, and where they posted it. Don't forget to note the date and time.
If the Tenant Fails to Move Out
If the tenant doesn't vacate the property by the Notice to Quit deadline, you must file a landlord and tenant complaint. In court, this is also known as an eviction lawsuit.
The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 outlines the steps you must take to serve the tenant to set an eviction hearing before a magistrate or judge. You can find the form for filing a Landlord-Tenant Complaint on the Judicial System of Pennsylvania's website.
Additional Resources for Property Owners
Hopefully, this isn't something you ever have to experience, but if you do, now you have a better understanding of the eviction laws in Pennsylvania.
HomeRiver Group Philadelphia strives to support property owners by providing a wide range of informative and educational resources. We want to help you become more knowledgeable about managing and operating rental investment properties more successfully.
Check out our available resources for more information!