I’m a Pennsylvania landlord with a difficult tenant. I’ve given the tenant the proper Pennsylvania termination notice, but he still won’t leave. What next? What is the Pennsylvania eviction process?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you have already properly served the tenant with any one of the available Pennsylvania termination notices and the tenant still will not leave, you may begin a lawsuit by filing a Landlord-Tenant Complaint with the appropriate Pennsylvania Magisterial District Justice’s office (a fee may apply). A copy of the complaint will be served on the tenant by the sheriff or constable and/or sent by mail. At trial, after considering all the evidence brought by both you and the tenant (and lawyers if either side has one), the judge will decide whom to grant possession of the property and what costs will be awarded. If the landlord wins, it will be 5 days before further action can be taken. If the tenant does not leave, the landlord may request that the court issue a writ of possession commanding the sheriff or constable to evict. The sheriff or constable will then serve the writ on the tenant within 48 hours and will execute it (remove the tenant) eleven days after that. Before being removed, a tenant can appeal the decision of the court and remain in the property (while paying rent) during the appeal. If at any time you think you need specialized legal services, you can always seek the advice and counsel of a Pennsylvania evictions attorney.

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