General Overview for Landlords
A landlord's professional relationships are founded in the contract between parties referred to as the lease agreement. Most landlord-tenant relationships involve written contracts or leases, but verbal agreements may also be binding and enforceable.
As a landlord, it is imperative that you have an attorney review your lease before entering into a new agreement. A poorly worded lease can mean the difference between winning and losing a landlord-tenant dispute later on. We at AAAL – Allegheny Attorneys At Law, P.C. will have a Pittsburgh real estate attorney sit down with you and explain the benefits and pitfalls to your lease obligations as a property owner and landlord.
Lawful Evictions in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, in order to legally evict tenants or recover any funds paid under a lease, you are required to go to court. If you attempt this without counsel, you may unknowingly miss out on recovering all that you deserve. You could even subject yourself to civil or criminal liability by engaging in the unlicensed practice of law! Grounds for eviction include:
- Nonpayment of rent;
- End of lease term; and/or,
- Material breach of the lease agreement.
If you, as a landlord or property owner, personally and forcefully evict a tenant without obtaining a proper Order of Possession, you can be held civilly responsible for any and all related damages to the tenant. This type of action is referred to as Self-Help Eviction and in Pennsylvania, such evictions are ILLEGAL! In order to comply with the law, landlords are required to do the following:
- Provide to a tenant Notice to Vacate in compliance with the lease and/or Landlord and Tenant Act prior to filing any legal action in court.
- File an action in court seeking an order of possession. Landlords can seek rent and other monetary damages from the tenant at this time or in a subsequent suit with the court.
- Upon obtaining an Order for Possession, a property owner must give appropriate notice under Pennsylvania law and allow the tenant at least ten (10) days, if residential, or fifteen (15) days, if commercial, to vacate the premises.
- On the eleventh (11) day or the sixteenth (16) day, a property owner can then have the local constable or sheriff remove any remaining persons from the property.
- PLEASE REMEMBER if a tenant appeals the determination of the initial court within ten (10) days after the initial hearing, an Order of Court may be suspended, pending the appeal process!
Landlord/Property Owner Rights
The rights of landlords and tenants are dictated both by the terms of the lease and Pennsylvania law. For property owners and landlords, these rights generally include the right to:
- Receive monthly rental obligations;
- Receive rent on time;
- Have a tenant sign a written lease;
- Have a tenant move out on time;
- Receive money damages for any damage done to your property;
- Conduct safety inspections on the property (if mentioned in the lease.)
- Request an initial security deposit;
- Terminate a lease (under certain conditions and situations)
- Withhold a security deposit if damage is done to the property;
- Request a credit check;
- Appeal the initial court determination!
Pittsburgh Area Landlord Attorney
We at AAAL – Allegheny Attorneys At Law, P.C. have a Pittsburgh real estate attorney with the knowledge and experience to walk you through this difficult and frustrating field of law. He will help you through any problem(s) you may have encountered as a landlord in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience at 412.426.3321 or at Marc@AlleghenyAttorneys.com.