Ejectment Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ejectment cases are not uncommon when disputes over property ownership or rightful possession arise.

Under Pennsylvania state law, a property owner or landlord may be eligible to file an ejectment action against an individual who is unlawfully occupying their property without permission and who refuses to vacate the property they have no legal right to occupy. 

If you need help initiating an ejectment action, my firm, Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., is ready to help. I offer in-depth guidance for clients dealing with real estate and property disputes. As your legal counsel, I can help clarify the Pennsylvania ejectment process and guide you through each legal step involved. 

My firm proudly serves clients throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas of Shaler Township, Penn Hills, Fox Chapel, Aspinwall, and Ross Township. 

What Is Ejectment?

Ejectment is a legal process that is used to remove an individual who is unlawfully occupying a property or piece of real estate. This could include a previous owner who refuses to vacate after losing ownership, a squatter, or an occupant of a rental property who is not listed on the lease. 

In Pennsylvania, property owners and landlords must demonstrate that they have a rightful claim to the property and that the occupant is residing there without consent. There are various reasons for which a property owner in Pennsylvania can pursue ejectment, often involving scenarios such as: 

  • Occupancy without permission or a lease. 

  • Expired lease or terminated lease agreement. 

  • Disputes over property boundaries. 

  • Claims of adverse possession. 

  • Encroachment by a neighbor. 

  • Unlawful occupation after foreclosure. 

  • Failure to vacate the property after sale. 

Property owners should have clear evidence and documentation to address these circumstances and establish the necessary grounds for ejectment.

A seasoned attorney can help assess the specifics of your case, determine if you have a legal basis for ejectment, and explore legal actions that are appropriate for your specific case.

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How Does Ejectment Differ from Eviction?

Eviction pertains to the removal of a tenant who has violated the terms of a lease or rental agreement. This is typically managed through providing a Notice to Quit and, if necessary, filing an eviction lawsuit. 

Ejectment, on the other hand, involves the removal of any individual from the property to which they have no legal or contractual right. Ejectment suits are often more complex and require thorough documentation to prove rightful ownership and occupancy without permission. 

A knowledgeable attorney can explain the differences between ejectment and eviction and help you determine the most relevant course of action for your specific situation. 

What Is an Ejectment Action?

An ejectment action is a legal procedure used by property owners in Pennsylvania to remove individuals who are unlawfully occupying their property without permission and without any legal right to remain. This process can be initiated when less formal means, such as eviction notices or demand letters, fail to resolve the dispute or do not apply. 

Under Pennsylvania law, an ejectment action falls under civil litigation and requires the property owner to file a lawsuit in the appropriate court. The property owner must demonstrate that they have a superior right to the property in question, which involves presenting deeds, lease agreements, or other legal documents that establish ownership or the right to possession. 

Steps for Filing an Ejectment Action

In Pennsylvania, an ejectment action involves filing a formal lawsuit against the person or entity unlawfully occupying a property. The process involves several key steps: 

  1. Filing a complaint: The property owner must file a complaint in the county's Court of Common Pleas where the property is located. The complaint should include the claim basis, property description, and evidence supporting the owner’s right to possession. 

  1. Serve the defendant: The complaint and a summons must be formally served to the defendant (unlawful occupant) to notify them of the legal action. 

  1. Defendant’s response: The defendant can respond to the complaint, either admitting or denying the allegations, and may present counterclaims or defenses. 

  1. Discovery phase: Both parties have an opportunity to gather evidence through discovery, including depositions, interrogatories, and document requests. 

  1. Trial: If the issue can't be settled through filing a complaint or negotiation, the case will go to trial. Both sides will have a chance to present their evidence and arguments to a judge or jury. 

  1. Judgment: The court will issue a judgment based on the evidence. If the plaintiff wins, an order of possession will be issued, allowing the property owner to regain control. 

Navigating these steps can be challenging, and it is often advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure adherence to the relevant property laws and to protect your rights as a property owner. 

How Can You Enforce an Ejectment Order?

When a court issues an ejectment order in Pennsylvania, property owners must follow specific steps to enforce the order and successfully regain possession of their property. Here are the steps involved in enforcing an ejectment order in Pennsylvania: 

  1. Obtain the writ of possession: After the court rules in favor of the property owner, obtain a writ of possession. This document authorizes local law enforcement to remove the unlawful occupant and return possession of the property to the rightful owner. 

  1. Request law enforcement assistance: Work with local law enforcement to schedule a date and time to enforce the order and oversee the removal of the unlawful occupant and their belongings from the property. Law enforcement will typically provide a notice to the unlawful occupant, informing them of the impending enforcement action and allowing them a short period, usually a few days, to voluntarily vacate the property. 

  1. Change the locks and secure the property: After the occupant has been removed, secure the property immediately by changing the locks, repairing any damage, and implementing security measures to prevent re-entry by the former occupant. 

  1. Seek compensation for damages: If the occupant has caused damage to the property or owes unpaid rent, you may pursue a monetary judgment to recover these costs. 

  1. Document the process: The property owner should thoroughly document each step of the enforcement process, including keeping records of all communications, notices, and actions taken. Proper documentation can safeguard them against potential legal disputes. 

Pennsylvania law requires property owners to store any belongings left behind by the unlawful occupant and to notify them that items were left behind. Generally, the unlawful occupant has 10 days from the postmark date when the property owner provided written notice; however, this could increase to 30 days by request.  

The occupant must be informed about where and how they can retrieve their items. If the unlawful occupant fails to contact the property owner within the first 10 days, the property owner can dispose of the personal property. Failure to comply with these provisions can lead to legal complications for the property owner. 

Additionally, property owners should refrain from attempting to forcibly remove the occupants themselves, as this could result in legal penalties and potential civil claims. Instead, seek assistance from an experienced real estate law attorney to guide you through this process and help protect your rights as a property owner. 

How Can My Firm Help?

An ejectment action is often legally complex and requires strict adherence to procedural rules and documentation standards. Engaging an experienced attorney can significantly increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I can help you compile evidence, file the necessary paperwork, represent your interests in court, and navigate any defenses or counterclaims that may arise. 

If you need assistance filing or enforcing an ejectment action, contact me. At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I have the experience and resources to assist and represent you in ejectment cases. As your legal counsel, I'll assess every aspect of your case, outline an effective strategy, and guide you to make sure the unlawful occupant vacates your property. 

Real Estate Ejectment Attorney Serving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Ejectment actions can help property owners reclaim possession of their property from unlawful occupants. If you need to remove an unlawful occupant from your property, contact me at Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. to schedule a consultation. I can provide you with the skilled legal guidance and representation you need. My firm proudly serves clients throughout Pittsburgh, Shaler Township, Penn Hills, Fox Chapel, Aspinwall, and Ross Township, Pennsylvania.