Leases, Evictions, & Foreclosures

Landlord Tenant Law – LL/T Leases

To ensure that your rights are protected when you rent a residential or commercial property, it is important to have a lease agreement that covers all potential circumstances.  AAAL – Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. has the knowledge and experience with Pennsylvania law to advise you on the lease, whether you are a landlord or a tenant. If you are drafting, negotiating, or signing a lease, AAAL can help you understand the obligations created by the document or include the necessary terms and precautions to protect against any and all unexpected surprises.

Landlord Tenant Law – Evictions

Magistrate Hearing

In Pennsylvania, Magisterial District Courts are courts of original jurisdiction for Landlord-Tenant disputes (except matters involving title to real estate) and for civil disputes involving $8,000.00 or less, in addition to serving other functions. The people within a district elect Magisterial District Judges for six-year terms.

Filing suit at Magisterial District Court is often the quickest and most effective way to regain possession of a property or recovery funds due under a lease.  At a Magistrate Hearing, both parties have an opportunity to testify and present evidence to the Judge. AAAL will represent your interests at a District Magistrate hearing for a flat fee as low as $500.00.

Arbitration

In the context of Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant disputes, an arbitration is an equitable legal proceeding adjudicated by a panel of attorneys.  Actions for money damages where the amount in controversy is less than a prescribed jurisdiction amount, e.g. $25,000.00, must first be submitted to and heard by a panel of arbitrators before the matter can proceed to a Court of Common Pleas Trial.

Landlord-Tenant disputes may be determined by arbitration if a party appeals the decision rendered by a Magisterial District Court or if the action is initially filed with the Court of Common Pleas, Arbitration Division.  Arbitration requires the drafting and filing of complex legal pleadings and a skilled legal practitioner to conduct the hearing.   AAAL will represent your interests before the Court of Common Pleas, Arbitration Division for a flat fee as low as $1,250.00.

Court of Common Pleas

The Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania.  Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations and many other matters.

If a Landlord-Tenant dispute is appealed from the Court of Common Pleas, Arbitration Division the matter will proceed to either a Judge or Jury Trial before the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division.  Additionally, if the case involves a dispute over the title to some real estate, e.g. land installment contract disputes, the case MUST be initially filed before the Court of Common Pleas Civil Division.

Conducting a trial before the Court of Common Pleas requires an experienced trial attorney to draft pleadings, conduct discovery and litigate all aspects of the case.  AAAL provides representation before the Court of Common Pleas on an hourly basis at competitive rates.

Superior Court

The Superior Court is one of Pennsylvania’s two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas.  The court often is the final arbiter of legal disputes. Although the Supreme Court may grant a petition for review of a Superior Court decision, most such petitions are denied and the ruling of the Superior Court stands.

Decisions rendered by the Court of Common Pleas are reviewed by the Superior Court to determine if the trial court made an erroneous legal ruling.  AAAL will represent your interests before the Superior Court on an hourly basis at competitive rates.

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Foreclosure Actions

Following economic downturns, home foreclosure rates across the state and nation rise dramatically.  In 2010, it is expected that over one million American homes may be foreclosed upon. Both the state of Pennsylvania and Allegheny County have experienced a significant increase in foreclosures in recent years.

In Pennsylvania, foreclosures are carried out through the court system. The foreclosure process takes about 10 months, not including the pre-foreclosure period.  It is usually initiated after a borrower is greater than 60 days late on the payment. Thereafter, the lender typically sends the borrower a letter notifying him of the impending foreclosure.

If the borrower cannot make the financial arrangements to prevent the foreclosure, the lender files a civil suit against the borrower for the amount due.  After the borrower is notified of the foreclosure action, he has only about one month to respond before the court can enter a default judgment and direct the property to be sold to recover the amount due.  A borrower can still prevent the sale by paying the full amount owed prior to the sale.

Some counties, including Allegheny and Philadelphia, have initiated special programs to address the increasing number of property foreclosures through court intervention, counseling, and conciliation.

If you face losing your home through foreclosure, contact Allegheny Attorneys at (412) 426-3321 today for counseling and representation from experienced lawyers who can help save your home.

Other Issues

Mobile Home Park Lease

If you own a mobile home park with three or more mobile homes or own a mobile home and lease a lot in a mobile home park, you have certain rights under the Pennsylvania Mobile Home Park Rights Act.

For example, if a tenant is complying with the park rules and paying rent, the park landlord cannot evict due to end of lease term unless there is a change in use of the park. Unless there is a written lease that waives or reduces the right to receive Notice to Vacate, a park landlord must give written Notice to Vacate.

For further information on this subject, contact AAAL – Allegheny Attorneys At Law, P.C at (412) 426-3321 or Marc@AlleghenyAttorneys.com.

Pittsburgh Real Estate Attorney

If you have questions about tenant law, leasing, foreclosure, or other real estate issues, reach out to me today. He can help you resolve your eviction, lease, or tenant disagreement issues. With over ten years of legal experience, I can explain your situation and help find a good resolution that works for multiple parties. Call today for your free consultation.