Posts Tagged ‘Notice to Quit’

The Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951

The Schuylkill County law firm of Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC has extensive experience in the field of landlord and tenant law. On this note, the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, and the subsequent amendments to the Act, constitute the primary laws regarding landlord and tenant relationships for all leased property, both commercial and residential.

There are also a variety of other laws that also govern landlord and tenant matters, ranging from the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, to caselaw dealing with contracts, and many other sources far too numerous to list here.

With respect to the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, this particular set of laws addresses many different issues between landlords and their tenants.

Among other things, the law specifies that leases for three years or more need to be in writing. While leases for terms of less than three years can be either oral or written, it is strongly advisable to have all such leases in writing, to protect the rights of both the landlord and tenant.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act sets forth the requirements for a landlord to give a Notice to Quit to a tenant, if the tenant has breached the lease, failed to pay rent, or if the landlord wants the tenant to vacate the leasehold property after the term of the lease has expired. The amount of time which a landlord must give a tenant to quit a property depends on a number of variables, including the length of the lease and the reason for giving the notice to quit. Less time is generally required if the reason for issuing the Notice to Quit is because of non-payment of rent. Special provisions also apply in situations involving mobile homes and mobile home parks.

Furthermore, with respect to the Notice to Quit, the landlord-tenant laws set forth in the Act also provide for certain means of service of the notice.

Some basic rules regarding eviction proceedings before Magisterial District Judges (formerly known in Pennsylvania as Magistrates or District Justices) are also included in the Landlord and Tenant Act, as well as some of the proceedings that are utilized in Pennsylvania following an eviction hearing to remove a tenant from an apartment or rental property that is the subject of a lease.

The Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act also governs appeals from District Judges and the relevant time limits that must be followed in order for an appeal to be heard. Appeals from Magisterial District Judges are heard by the County Court of Common Pleas. For example, if an appeal from a Magisterial District Justice is filed regarding any apartment in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, that case will be heard on appeal by the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas. In regards to such appeals, the Landlord and Tenant Act sets forth requirements for paying rent into escrow with the Court of Common Pleas as the appeal is being processed through the court system.

In addition, the Landlord and Tenant Act also contains a number of other provisions regarding the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants, as they pertain to maintenance of the property, guests allowed on the property, consequences of illegal drugs and related crimes, and even provisions relating to tenants’ access to cable television.

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC represents clients in the field of landlord and tenant law.


Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC
Ten Westwood Road
P.O. Box 1190
Pottsville, PA 17901
Phone: (570) 622-5933
Fax: (570) 622-5033

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones is a full service law firm, providing representation of both individual and business clients in a wide range of practice areas, including business and corporate law, real estate, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, elder law, estate planning including the preparation and administration of wills, estates and trusts, and civil litigation, including personal injury, landlord and tenant, and family law.

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones is the oldest and largest Schuylkill County law firm. The attorneys of the firm have numerous offices conveniently located in Pottsville, Orwigsburg, Shenandoah, Pine Grove, Hegins and Tower City. The firm’s lawyers routinely practice not only in Schuylkill County, but also in many other courts located throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania, including Berks County, Northumberland County, Carbon County, Lebanon County, Dauphin County, and Luzerne County.

Pennsylvania Constructive Eviction

Sometimes, inexperienced or unscrupulous Pennsylvania landlords attempt to use constructive eviction to remove a tenant from an apartment or other rental property. Constructive eviction involves an attempt by a landlord to make a tenant’s rental unit uninhabitable or unpleasant to live in, with the intent of forcing the tenant to vacate. Some examples of constructive eviction including failing to provide heat or hot water, or cutting off electrical service.

Constructive eviction can oftentimes result in a landlord being named as the defendant in a suit, based upon the landlord’s failure to provide a habitable apartment. In fact, a recent news story out of New York regarding a Northampton County, Pennsylvania landlord shows one way that landlords can be held liable for undertaking a constructive eviction.

The landlord apparently wanted to force the tenants who were occupying the apartment to leave. Rather than filing a proper landlord and tenant action to evict the tenants, the landlord instead chose to attempt a constructive eviction. In the process, the landlord was accused of removing the toilet from the residence, as well as other critical fixtures, including the sinks. Because the lack of the fixtures rendered the apartment uninhabitable and unsanitary, the local board of health cited the landlord and ordered him to correct the problems. After he refused to do so, the local board levied a fine of almost $10,000 against the landlord, based upon 24 local housing code violations.

Rather than attempting an illegal constructive eviction, the landlord should have consulted with an experienced landlord and tenant attorney, who could have represented him in a landlord and tenant eviction proceeding to remove the tenants peacefully and legally.

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC is a Pottsville, Pennsylvania based law firm that represents clients in landlord and tenant proceedings, include the preparation of Pennsylvania leases, eviction proceedings and related matters involving landlord and tenant law.


Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC
Ten Westwood Road
P.O. Box 1190
Pottsville, PA 17901
Phone: (570) 622-5933
Fax: (570) 622-5033

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC is the oldest and largest law firm in Schuylkill County. The attorneys of the law firm have numerous offices conveniently located in Pottsville, Orwigsburg, Shenandoah, Pine Grove, Hegins and Tower City.

The firm’s lawyers routinely practice not only in Schuylkill County, but also in many other courts located throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania, including Berks County, Northumberland County, Carbon County, Lebanon County, Dauphin County, and Luzerne County.

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC is a full service law firm, providing representation of both individual and business clients in not only landlord and tenant proceedings, but also in a wide range of other practice areas, including business and corporate law, real estate, elder law, estate planning including the preparation and administration of wills, estates and trusts, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, family law, and civil litigation, including personal injury and wrongful death.

Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Eviction Proceedings

An eviction proceeding is the process used by a landlord to terminate a lease and physically have a tenant removed from a rental property.

Typically, in Pennsylvania the landlord must first give a Notice to Quit, also called an eviction notice. The Notice to Quit must contain certain wording that informs the tenant that the lease has been breached and which sets a date for the tenant to vacate the apartment or rental home.

After giving the Eviction Notice to the tenant, but prior to taking any further legal action, the landlord usually has to give the tenant a certain amount of time to either correct the problem or to move out of the rental property. If the tenant has not corrected the problem or vacated the leased property by the end of that waiting period, the landlord can then file a landlord-tenant complaint with a Magisterial District Judge (previously known as a district justice) seeking the tenant’s eviction. Additionally, the landlord can also usually make a claim for unpaid rent and other fees, and damages which may have been incurred.

The Pennsylvania court system has very strict rules regarding eviction proceedings, and therefore it is critical that landlords carefully follow the correct procedures. If a landlord fails to follow the appropriate rules, the landlord could lose the case and/or find themselves being sued by a tenant.

Most eviction proceedings begin before a Magisterial District Judge. However, if the landlord is not successful before the Magistrate, in order to continue pursue the case, an appeal would need to be filed with the County Court of Common Pleas, seeking a trial for the ejectment of the tenant. Typically, ejectment actions are significantly more complex, technical and usually more expensive to pursue.


Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, LLC
Ten Westwood Road
P.O. Box 1190
Pottsville, PA 17901
Phone: (570) 622-5933
Fax: (570) 622-5033

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones is a full service law firm, providing representation of both individual and business clients in a wide range of practice areas, including business and corporate law, real estate, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, elder law, estate planning including the preparation and administration of wills, estates and trusts, and civil litigation, including personal injury, landlord and tenant, and family law.

Williamson, Friedberg & Jones is the oldest and largest Schuylkill County law firm. The attorneys of the firm have numerous offices conveniently located in Pottsville, Orwigsburg, Shenandoah, Pine Grove, Hegins and Tower City. The firm’s lawyers routinely practice not only in Schuylkill County, but also in many other courts located throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania, including Berks County, Northumberland County, Carbon County, Lebanon County, Dauphin County, and Luzerne County.