Eviction

Legal Information

Other Housing Problems

Frustrated Woman.

This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about issues relating to Eviction in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

Tenants! Being Evicted?

Information from Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. on the rights of tenants who are being evicted.

Illegal Lockouts (Video)

This video from Neighborhood Legal Services Association explains tenants' rights under the law in Pennsylvania that offer protection against self-help evictions when the landlord changes the locks or renders the property unusable without following the property eviction procedures.

Eviction Process in Pennsylvania (Video)

Video from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services explaining the eviction process in Pennsylvania.

Illegal Lockouts in Philadelphia County

Flyer on illegal lockouts and the legal eviction process in Philadelphia County. (June 2016)

Eviction Process Overview - Philadephia County

Overview of the steps in the eviction process in Philadelphia County.

Common Landlord-Tenant Myths (Video)

This video, Common Landlord-Tenant Myths, provides information on most of the problems arising during the tenancy, including written versus oral leases, eviction notices, illegal self-help evictions, security deposits, and warranty of habitability.

Tenants Rights

Information on the rights of tenants in a landlord and tenant relationship.

Tenant and Landlord Relationships (Audio-MP3)

This is an episode of Northwestern Legal Services' "Access to Justice" Radio show broadcast on JET 1400 AM in Erie, PA on 7/12/07. Consumer Protection Law in Pennsylvania and Landlord/Tenant Relationships are discussed by NWLS Attorneys John Gandrud & David Hull in this episode. (28:15)

Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights

The Bureau of Consumer Protection, the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Impact Litigation Division of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General offers this Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights in Pennsylvania. The Guide provides an overview of the state and federal legal requirements that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, as well as best practices when renting a place to live. The Guide informs you about what to look for when applying to rent and reviewing a lease, what to expect while renting, and what to anticipate when a lease ends.

Eviction

The Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania provides this overview of eviction in Pennsylvania. An eviction is a legal action started by the owner of a property to force a tenant to move out of the property. A court ordered eviction is the only legal way a landlord may force a tenant to leave a rental property. Topics include Falling Behind on Rent; Eviction Process; Eviction Q&A; and Magisterial District Court Q&A.

Eviction from Residential Property for Nonpayment of Rent

Informational chart from the Pennsylvania Bar Association outlining the steps in the eviction process in all Pennsylvania Counties except Philadelphia.

Illegal Lock-Outs – Know Your Rights

In response to the Coronavirus emergency, many courts are closed and no evictions are being processed at this time. As a result, landlords may attempt to remove tenants illegally for nonpayment of rent or other reasons.

Landlord Tenant Handbook

Detailed information about renting a residence from a landlord from North Penn Legal Services (NPLS). Fair housing (housing discrimination) information is included throughout the entire handbook. There is a Lehigh Valley Edition and a Northeast PA Edition. NPLS revised the Landlord-Tenant Handbook in December 2019.

Responding to Illegal "Self-Help" Evictions

There are several types of Residential Property Crimes that take place in Philadelphia. In every case, vulnerable citizens are victimized. However, sometimes it can be difficult to determine who the parties are and what is taking place. This video will go over how to identify and respond to an illegal “self-help” eviction.

What is Preliminary Injunctive Relief (Video)

This video explains what preliminary injunctive relief is and when you may be able to obtain a preliminary injunction when your landlord is trying to evict you. It contains specific instructions for the counties served by Laurel Legal Services, Inc., including Armstrong, Cambria, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson, and Westmoreland Counties.

Landlord Tenant Overview and Notice Requirements

Information from Northwestern Legal Services providing an overview of landlord tenant law and notice requirements.

What Kind of Notice to Vacate Is Required for Residential Leases under Pennsylvania Law?

Information from Neighborhood Legal Services Association on notice requirements in eviction.

How to Prepare for Landlord-Tenant Court if You are Facing Eviction (Video)

Video from Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project, providing a description of your rights when being evicted and about how the eviction process works. Specific information is included about the eviction process that is followed in Philadelphia, along with some resources for people facing eviction in Philadelphia.

Filing an Appeal of an Eviction (Video)

This video from Neighborhood Legal Services Association outlines the steps that you need to take in order to file an appeal of an eviction decision from the Magisterial District Court to the Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. Specific instructions are given for cases in counties served by Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

Illegal Lockouts in Philadelphia County

Flyer on illegal lockouts and the legal eviction process in Philadelphia County. (June 2016)

Defending an Action at the District Justice Office

Informational brochure from MidPenn Legal Services outlining the procedure in defending an action at district justice court in central Pennsylvania.

How to Represent Yourself at the Magisterial District Justice Hearing

Information from Neighborhood Legal Services Associationon representing yourself at a Magisterial District Justice hearing.

How to Sue At the Office of the Magisterial District Judge

Information from MidPenn Legal Services on how to file suit on small claims in your local Office of the Magisterial District Judge. (July 2012)

Magisterial District Judge Court - Filing Suit

This information from Northwestern Legal Services provides instructions on how to file a lawsuit in Magisterial District Judge Court.

Preparing for Your Landlord/Tenant Hearing Before a Magisterial District Judge

Information from MidPenn Legal Services on what to do to prepare for a hearing involving your landlord in Magisterial District Court. [PDF]

Tenants' Rights - Going to Court

Northwestern Legal Services provides general information for tenants regarding district justice court hearings.

The District Justice Hearing: North Penn Legal Services Landlord - Tenant Video Workshop

This video workshop from North Penn Legal Services features a typical hearing before a magisterial district Judge in a landlord-tenant case, followed by a panel discussion featuring several judges describing some best practices for you to use at your hearing, as well as some things to avoid. The process in the video is typical of any civil case brought before a magisterial district judge in Pennsylvania.

Appealing a Landlord/Tenant Judgment for Possession Pro Se

Information from MidPenn Legal Services on how to file an Appeal to the Court of Common Pleas if the Magisterial District Judge rules against you in a lawsuit filed by your landlord. (June 2011)

Appealing the Magisterial District Justice Judgment

Information from Neighborhood Legal Services Association on appealing a District Justice judgment.

Bringing Suit Before a Magisterial District Judge

Consumer information pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. [PDF]

Defending a Lawsuit

Information on how to defend a lawsuit provided by the Erie County Bar Association.

How to File a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides an explanation of what In Forma Pauperis is (a request to file legal papers without having to pay the filing fee because you cannot afford to pay the fees) and line-by-line instructions on completing a petition to request permission to proceed without paying filing fees.

Right to Legal Counsel in Philadelphia Evictions

Some renters in Philadelphia now have the right to a free attorney in their eviction hearings, or a Right to Counsel, a new program from the City. If you’re low-income and live in ZIP codes 19121 or 19139, you can get a FREE LAWYER to represent you in your eviction or housing subsidy termination hearing! Learn more in this video from Community Legal Services.

Small Claims Court

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on the operation of the Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania.

Forms - Pennsylvania Courts

The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania provides forms for citizens, the judiciary and law enforcement. These bilingual forms are now offered in 13 languages. ‌BILINGUAL FORMS / FORMULARIOS BILINGÜES: ‌(ARABIC) العربية; 中文 (CHINESE-SIMPLIFIED); FRANÇAIS (FRENCH); KREYÒL AYISYEN (HAITIAN CREOLE); ITALIANO (ITALIAN); ខ្មែរ (KHMER); 한국어 (KOREAN); नेपाली (NEPALI); POLSKI (POLISH); PORTUGUÊS (PORTUGUESE); РУССКИЙ (RUSSIAN); ESPAÑOL (SPANISH); TIẾNG VIỆT (VIETNAMESE)

How to File a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

This video from Laurel Legal Services provides an explanation of what In Forma Pauperis is (a request to file legal papers without having to pay the filing fee because you cannot afford to pay the fees) and line-by-line instructions on completing a petition to request permission to proceed without paying filing fees.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

PAHousingSearch.com

This is a free resource from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and other Commonwealth partners to help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. Property providers can list available apartments or homes at any time, which means the listings are current. The web site lets you define what you want in your next living space, and then it does all the research – presenting you with the relevant housing vacancies that best fit your parameters in the community where you want to live.

Bringing Suit Before a Magisterial District Judge

Consumer information pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. [PDF]

Defending a Lawsuit

Information on how to defend a lawsuit provided by the Erie County Bar Association.

Eviction from Residential Property for Nonpayment of Rent

Informational chart from the Pennsylvania Bar Association outlining the steps in the eviction process in all Pennsylvania Counties except Philadelphia.

Landlord Rights

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on a landlord's rights regarding security deposits and eviction notices in a residential lease agreement. (August 2018)

Renting a House or Apartment

Consumer information pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. [PDF] (September 2020)

Residential Tenant Rights

Information on rights of tenants from the Erie County Bar Association. (August 2018)

Small Claims Court

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on the operation of the Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania.

Starting a Lawsuit

Information from the Erie County Bar Association about filing a lawsuit. (February 2018)

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included funding for states to establish Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP). ERAP is now taking applications. ERAP helps tenant households with paying rent, past-due rent balances (also known as arrears), utility and home energy costs, utility and home energy cost arrears, and other expenses related to housing.

Mortgage and Housing Assistance during the Coronavirus National Emergency

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have partnered to launch a new mortgage and housing assistance website to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic. The page provides information on what to do now, and what your options are for mortgage and rent payment relief.

Protections for renters

If you’re having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. Here are some steps renters can take, as well as many significant protections from eviction that apply in certain situations.

Eviction Process in Pennsylvania (Video)

Video from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services explaining the eviction process in Pennsylvania.

PA Courts Public Access Policy - Filing Requirements in the Courts (Video)

Effective on January 6, 2018, a new Public Access Policy is in effect in Pennsylvania Courts. This policy imposes requirements on anyone filing court documents in the trial and appellate courts to safeguard information in the documents they file. The Pennsylvania Courts have released this series of videos that explain the judiciary’s new policy for protecting confidential information and the required steps you must take to protect that information when filing documents in the courts.

CFPB Releases Online Tool to Help Renters and Landlords Access Federal Assistance

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a new online tool to help renters and landlords impacted by the pandemic easily find and apply for payment assistance for rent, utilities and other expenses.

Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights

The Bureau of Consumer Protection, the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Impact Litigation Division of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General offers this Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights in Pennsylvania. The Guide provides an overview of the state and federal legal requirements that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, as well as best practices when renting a place to live. The Guide informs you about what to look for when applying to rent and reviewing a lease, what to expect while renting, and what to anticipate when a lease ends.

Forms - Pennsylvania Courts

The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania provides forms for citizens, the judiciary and law enforcement. These bilingual forms are now offered in 13 languages. ‌BILINGUAL FORMS / FORMULARIOS BILINGÜES: ‌(ARABIC) العربية; 中文 (CHINESE-SIMPLIFIED); FRANÇAIS (FRENCH); KREYÒL AYISYEN (HAITIAN CREOLE); ITALIANO (ITALIAN); ខ្មែរ (KHMER); 한국어 (KOREAN); नेपाली (NEPALI); POLSKI (POLISH); PORTUGUÊS (PORTUGUESE); РУССКИЙ (RUSSIAN); ESPAÑOL (SPANISH); TIẾNG VIỆT (VIETNAMESE)

Homeless Assistance Programs

Information on the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' Homeless Assistance Programs and services available to homeless and near homeless individuals and families.

Housing Navigator Unit (Allegheny County)

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services Housing Navigator Unit was established in 2018 to help homeless persons served by DHS find and maintain safe, affordable housing in the private market. The Housing Navigator Unit works toward this goal by recruiting and supporting landlords in the private market who rent to DHS tenants. The unit also works with the agencies charged with providing support services to the tenants. This public/private partnership aims to speed up access to private rental properties, improve communication and trust, resolve concerns and complaints, and increase accountability among all parties - the landlords, the service providers and the tenants.

PAHousingSearch.com

This is a free resource from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and other Commonwealth partners to help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. Property providers can list available apartments or homes at any time, which means the listings are current. The web site lets you define what you want in your next living space, and then it does all the research – presenting you with the relevant housing vacancies that best fit your parameters in the community where you want to live.

What should I do if the house or apartment I’m renting goes into foreclosure?

Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on what to do if your landlord defaults on the mortgage to your residence and it goes into foreclosure.

National Eviction Moratorium: FAQ for Renters

Frequently asked questions and answers about the coverage and effect of the eviction moratorium enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Overview of National Eviction Moratorium

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took unprecedented action on September 1 by issuing a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. This provides an overview of that moratorium.

Handbook on Rules and Procedures for Landlord-Tenant Relations in the Fifth Judicial District - Allegheny County

This handbook outlines what a tenant in Allegheny County should know if they have a dispute with their landlord. It details how a tenant can avoid court, instances when a tenant can bring their landlord to court and what to do if a tenant must go to court. Download PDF version. (January 2019)

Eviction

The Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania provides this overview of eviction in Pennsylvania. An eviction is a legal action started by the owner of a property to force a tenant to move out of the property. A court ordered eviction is the only legal way a landlord may force a tenant to leave a rental property. Topics include Falling Behind on Rent; Eviction Process; Eviction Q&A; and Magisterial District Court Q&A.

PhillyTenant.Org

PhillyTenant.Org is your resource for tenant rights in Philadelphia. PhillyTenant.org is the product of a collaboration of legal services and advocacy organizations in Philadelphia including: AIDS Law Project; Community Legal Services; Dechert LLP; HELP: MLP; Landlord/Tenant Legal Help Center @ Municipal Court; Legal Clinic for the Disabled; Legal Help Center; Philadelphia Legal Assistance; Philly VIP; Regional Housing Legal Services; SeniorLAW Center; and Tenant Union Representative Network. The information provided on PhillyTenant.org is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or representation, tenants should seek legal help.

Philly Tenant Resource Guide [PDF]

Resource from the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project providing information for people facing eviction in Philadelphia. The guide also provides contact information for agencies and organizations that provide assistance to people facing eviction on a variety of legal and practical topics, including housing, utilities, food, health and work. (2018)

PhillyTenant.Org

PhillyTenant.Org is your resource for tenant rights in Philadelphia. PhillyTenant.org is the product of a collaboration of legal services and advocacy organizations in Philadelphia including: AIDS Law Project; Community Legal Services; Dechert LLP; HELP: MLP; Landlord/Tenant Legal Help Center @ Municipal Court; Legal Clinic for the Disabled; Legal Help Center; Philadelphia Legal Assistance; Philly VIP; Regional Housing Legal Services; SeniorLAW Center; and Tenant Union Representative Network. The information provided on PhillyTenant.org is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or representation, tenants should seek legal help.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

Right to Legal Counsel in Philadelphia Evictions

Some renters in Philadelphia now have the right to a free attorney in their eviction hearings, or a Right to Counsel, a new program from the City. If you’re low-income and live in ZIP codes 19121 or 19139, you can get a FREE LAWYER to represent you in your eviction or housing subsidy termination hearing! Learn more in this video from Community Legal Services.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included funding for states to establish Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP). ERAP is now taking applications. ERAP helps tenant households with paying rent, past-due rent balances (also known as arrears), utility and home energy costs, utility and home energy cost arrears, and other expenses related to housing.

Illegal Lock-Outs – Know Your Rights

In response to the Coronavirus emergency, many courts are closed and no evictions are being processed at this time. As a result, landlords may attempt to remove tenants illegally for nonpayment of rent or other reasons.

Information for PHILADELPHIA RENTERS During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Resources and information for renters in Philadelphia relating to COVID-19.

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