Quick, think about the country's greatest real estate markets! Big cities like New York and Los Angeles may come to mind. But Harrisburg landed on realtor.com's top-ten list for 2021 for its central location and low cost of living.
Harrisburg is great for homebuyers and renters alike. Yet not all renters turn out to be great. If you want to be a great landlord, you need to know how to handle evictions.
How can you handle evictions while following the law? How can you encourage your tenant to move out? What do legal cases look like in eviction court?
Answer these questions and you can make the eviction process straightforward. Here is your quick guide.
Follow Pennsylvania Eviction Laws
Pennsylvania's Landlord and Tenant Act specifies the regulations for eviction. You can evict a tenant after they fail to pay the rent for multiple months. You can also remove them if they pose a threat to you, your other tenants, or the property.
You cannot remove someone due to immutable characteristics like their race, ancestry, or sex. You also cannot move someone because they are pregnant or have a disability. Failing to comply with eviction laws can lead to penalties and lawsuits.
Notify Your Tenant
The Landlord and Tenant Act also requires you to notify your tenant of the eviction. If you are evicting a tenant due to nonpayment of rent, you must give them an eviction notice at least 10 days before you start the eviction process in court. For other reasons, you must give them notice 15 days before filing.
You can use a form to draft your eviction notice. Run it by a lawyer to make sure you are complying with all residential laws.
Work Out a Resolution
Filing a notice early in the process means you have an opportunity to resolve the situation. Get in contact with your tenant and work out a resolution. Your tenant may agree to pay the rent back or pay for any property they have damaged.
Your tenant can also agree to move out on a few conditions. You can give them money or property so they will move out, or you can agree to connect them with another landlord and help them during the tenant screening process.
Prepare for a Lawsuit
Your tenant has the opportunity to respond to the notice and challenge it in court. Your tenant can point out mistakes in your complaint or flaws in your practices as a landlord.
You should prepare for a court hearing. You can represent yourself, or you can hire a housing lawyer. If you lose your case, you can appeal, but do not lock your tenant out of your property or shut off their utilities.
Handle Evictions the Right Way
Evictions are trickier than they seem. Laws affect when and how you can evict someone, so talk to a lawyer before you try to get a tenant out.
Tell your tenant why you are evicting them weeks in advance of your lawsuit. Talk to them and see if you can work things out. If you can't, mount a defense of yourself and gather pieces of evidence you can use against your tenant in court.
Find real estate professionals who can help with evictions. HomeRiver Group Harrisburg helps landlords handle the eviction process. Contact us today.