When someone breaks into your property and starts to live there without ever having a lease, they are known as a squatter. As a landlord who needs to evict a squatter in Philadelphia, you may find yourself facing a lengthy legal process. For this reason, it’s important not to delay contacting. We can help resolve the issue in four to seven months, depending on whether the defendant contests the case.
The ejectment process in Philadelphia is different from an eviction – which is when there was a lease – and is a civil action that is initiated in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The process starts when we file your complaint in ejectment with the clerk of courts. The complaint must lay out the specific facts of the case, asserting that you are the legal and record owner, the defendant is occupying the property illegally, and you want them removed from the property by the sheriff.
After filing the complaint, we arrange to have it served in-person at the defendant’s home or place of business. The defendant then has a minimum of twenty days to respond. If the defendant does not respond, we will take a default judgment on your behalf, but if the defendant contests the case, it will enter the discovery phase, which includes discovery requests, motions for summary judgments, and depositions.
Following the default judgment, the owner may wait for a trial or file a motion for a writ of possession. At the motion hearing, the court will ask to review the certified and recorded deed establishing ownership rights. The burden is on you to prove a right to possession by the preponderance of the evidence. If the defendant has answered the complaint, the case may proceed to trial, where the burden is again on you to show by a preponderance of the evidence that you have a superior right to possession of the property.
If you win the contested case, the judge will grant you possession, and to finalize the lockout, we will file a writ of possession with the clerk of courts. The writ of possession is delivered to the office of the sheriff of Philadelphia to schedule a lockout. The sheriff will post a notice on the property giving the squatter 21 days’ notice. The sheriff will then call us to finalize lockout particulars. On the appointed date, the sheriff will appear at the property for the lockout, and if the squatter does not vacate, they will be arrested.
If you are considering purchasing a property where there are squatters, don’t be deterred. It can still be a good investment and success in court is likely if you are the certified and legal owner. It is essential to call us so we can expedite the legal process by timely serving the squatter, filing a motion for writ of possession, and case management memorandums.
In conclusion, as a landlord who needs to evict a squatter in Philadelphia, it is essential to have a Philadelphia ejectment lawyer to assist you throughout the legal process. They can help you understand the legal requirements, file the necessary documents, and represent you in court. With our assistance, you can expeditiously resolve the issue and regain possession of your property.