Eviction – the word alone is unpleasant. No one wants to face down the possibility of eviction, yet many people find themselves in that situation. Landlords have rights, but they also have responsibilities. As tenants, you have certain rights that protect you against unreasonable or unscrupulous landlords. Philadelphian landlords are notorious for wanting to make a quick buck in any way they can. The law should protect you, but it does not always meet the mark.
This is where we come in. At Freundlich & Littman, LLC, we understand the tenuous relationship between landlords and tenants in the city of Philadelphia. We represent tenants. As your experienced eviction law lawyers, we look at your case with special care. Any failure to follow legal procedure could be a grounds to reverse the eviction notice.
The Relationship Between A Landlord & A Tenant
Every state has different rules on landlords and tenants. The relationship between a landlord and tenant is especially sour in large cities like Philadelphia. As a general matter, the landlord must communicate with the tenant. The tenant, likewise, must communicate with the landlord if there is a problem with the rental property. Landlords also have a duty to provide a space that is inhabitable and free of hazards.
An eviction usually occurs when the tenant fails to meet their responsibility of paying rent. A landlord may also seek to evict you if you are loud, your behavior is affecting the other tenants, or you are causing irreparable damage to the property. A landlord may evict a tenant. They must follow specific rules to avoid facing a legal challenge to the eviction. Neither a landlord nor a tenant can break a signed lease unless the lease contract explicitly allows it, the law permits it, or your landlord consents to release you from the leasing contract.
Notice is an important aspect of eviction law in Philadelphia. In essence, to put someone “on notice” is to make them aware of the legal action taken against them. To serve someone notice, a landlord must provide the notice in a reasonable place. The law calls this notice a “Notice to Quit.”
A Notice to Quit is a legal document. When a landlord wishes to seek an eviction, they must notify the tenant in writing. This means that a verbal, “get out by next Friday”, is not enough. The landlord must also notify the tenant of the date of eviction.
A Notice to Quit must contain several key terms in order for the document to be sound. The document must contain:
Reasons For Eviction
Landlords have several legal grounds for eviction. Despite these legal reasons, landlords attempt to evict for both legal and non-legal grounds. Worse still, landlords will hide a discriminatory reason behind a legitimate legal ground. These situations may be difficult to prove.
Legal reasons for an eviction include:
What Is Illegal For The Landlord To Do?
First, the landlord must follow the above procedure to give notice. Any clerical or procedural errors in the legal eviction process is grounds for an appeal. If there are errors in filings or eviction notices, the landlord must submit a secondary notice to their tenant. The ten (10) days will then start over. If there is an error, they cannot evict you even after the ten days are up.
Second, a landlord may not resort to their own methods in order to evict a tenant. A landlord still owes a duty to the tenant to keep the rental property inhabitable. This means that they may not shut off utilities to the property. They may not use unsavory methods to make an otherwise livable rental property uninhabitable. The landlord cannot change the locks of the apartment or enter the property to remove the tenant’s personal property. A landlord cannot physically remove the tenant from the property. These are all examples of an illegal eviction.
A landlord must go through the legal process without committing an error in order to legally evict a tenant.
What Do I Do?
If your landlord is seeking to evict you, contact an attorney immediately. Landlords will often have a legal team of their own who will not have your interest at heart. The dedicated legal team at Freundlich & Littman, LLC are your eviction lawyers. We are here to guide you and fight for you during the process. Call us today at 215-545-8500 to schedule a free consultation.