Ask An Attorney: Landlord Tenant Disputes

One area of law that effects numerous people on a daily basis is landlord-tenant law. This type of law effects both property owners and renters. Due to its importance, this month’s article will detail some basics concerning landlord tenant disputes.

Firstly, landlord tenant disputes are governed in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act. This act describes the requirements for leases, methods for handling disputes, landlord’s remedies for defaulting tenants, and statutory protections for tenants. Both tenants and landlords should be familiar with the obligations and duties defined in the lease, as the lease is the controlling document for all disputes.

The application of the Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Act usually favors tenants during disputes. For instance, the landlord must within 30 days from the end of the tenancy return the whole security deposit, or explain in writing the reasons for withholding any portion of the security deposit. If the landlord fails to do so, then the landlord is liable for twice the amount of the security deposit to the departed tenant.

Additionally, it is difficult to evict a tenant as the process takes time. For example, if a tenant’s lease has expired, then they are a month-to-month tenant who can be evicted at any time. However, a landlord must give a ten day notice to evict prior to taking the tenant to the local district justice, who may issue an eviction notice. After an eviction order, the tenant will then have an additional ten days to vacate the property before a constable is hired to physically remove the tenant from the property. The tenant may also appeal eviction orders to the Court of Common Pleas if proper filing fees and escrow payments are made with the Court. The issues facing landlords and tenants are too numerous to list here, so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.

If you have any issues that you would like discussed in the next issue of the Northside Chronicle, please click here to contact Matthew Gailey through our website or give me a call at (412)223-6712.

Originally published in “The Northside Chronicle,”  May 2017 edition.

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