Do You Have Frustrating Tenants That You Can’t Get Rid Of?

From time to time, landlords encounter tenants, friends, and even family members who overstay their welcome. With tenants that signed a lease agreement, you might be facing unpaid rent or another contractual breach (e.g., too many people residing at rental, or a tenant running a business from your property). With friends and family—(which you can read more about it here)—while it may seem difficult to objectively pinpoint, increases in your utility bills or receiving mail addressed to them at your property are tell-tale signs that someone has overextended their stay.
This article will explore how Philadelphia property owners can handle frustrating tenants:

HOW TO HANDLE A BREACHING TENANT UNDER PENNSYLVANIA LANDLORD-TENANT LAW

For properties located in Philadelphia County, the Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Act of 1951 governs lease agreements. According to the Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Act (68 P.S. § 250.501), you may notify a tenant in writing of your intent to remove them from your property upon: (1) termination of tenant’s term, (2) breach of lease, or (3) failure, upon demand, to pay rent due. Especially if this is your first eviction, hiring a local lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law and handling evictions is advisable.
If a tenant meets any of the above three criteria, you must follow specific procedures to reclaim your property. Do not employ “self-help” options like shutting down electricity or changing the locks! Such actions are likely to result in financial damages for an illegal eviction.
Any time you want to evict a tenant, you must serve them with a Notice to Quit. This informs your tenant that they must move from the property by a certain deadline. The tenant may choose to vacate the premises or contest the eviction. You must ensure that the notice includes all legally required information. Otherwise, if the tenant contests the eviction, you risk that a judge will dismiss your case based on a faulty notice and require you to start from the beginning. This is why it’s advisable to work with an attorney.

Termination of the Lease Term and Breach of Lease.

In the case of an expiring lease term or a breach of the lease, you must serve your tenant with a written Notice to Quit that is based on the length of the lease.
  • Month-to-Month. 15-Day Notice.
  • 1 Year, Less Than 1 Year, or Indeterminate Time Period. 15-Day Notice.
  • More than a Year. 30-Day Notice.

WHAT TO DO IF THE TENANT DOES NOT LEAVE

If you serve a Notice to Quit and the tenant does not repair the breach or move out within the required time period, the landlord can file a summons and complaint with the court to start an eviction case. Within 20 days of receiving complaint for eviction, a tenant must provide an answer to Philadelphia County Municipal Court. Eviction hearings are held in Municipal Court at 1339 Chestnut St, 6th Floor. If the tenant loses at the hearing, they may file an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas in City Hall within 10 calendar days. At that point, if the tenant does not appeal or loses their appeal, the landlord tenant officer can evict the tenant 21 days after the judgment.

HOW TO HANDLE A NON- BREACHING TENANT

If a tenant does not meet any of the three criteria laid out under Pennsylvania Law, and you need them to leave, there are still options. You may buy them out or wait for the lease to expire. If you have an Early Termination Clause, you can attempt to employ it to buy out a tenant, typically by offering a few months of rent in exchange for ending the agreement.

 

Ultimately, the path forward is up to you, and we are here to help. Whether you’re interested in selling your property, exhausted by being a landlord, are a seasoned investor, or anywhere in between, we look forward to working together!

Disclaimer: The content provided on this page is general consumer information, not legal or regulatory advice. The information above may include links to third-party resources. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this information.