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Landlord trying to do self-eviction

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Atarhpe, Apr 15, 2009.

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  1. Atarhpe

    Atarhpe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My landlord is trying to evict me without going to court. He says he doesn't have to take it to the district court and that his "notices" to leave are enough and he can get the Constable to come out on just that alone.

    Everything I have read pertaining to Pennsylvania Tenant/Landlord rights with Eviction for Nonpayment state that it must go before the Judge before the sheriff or Constable can place a notice or before they can remove you.

    Is that correct or can the landlord's notices be enough?

    My lease is a 1 year lease that started in November of 08. In Jan. I ran into some financial problems and in feb my landlord sent out a letter stating if I could not catch up on rent they wanted me out by the end of Feb, which was only a week after the letter was received. At the time I believed I could catch up but unfortunately I was unable to do so.

    They contacted me in April on the 9th and left a notice on my door stating I needed to be out in 15 days starting April 1st. He came over after that stating I was to be out already, not even acknowledging the 15 days. He also stated that when he feels I am "gone" he can come in and throw away my belongings as well. I told him that we have to go before the district Judge and he says he doesn't have to and can get the constable to come out and throw me out.

    I am not trying to stay longer than I should because I know I should be out but I need more time to gather up and leave. According to some other landlords I have spoken to what he is doing is considered a "self-eviction" and not legal in PA even when it deals with Non-payment. He's come into my apartment when I am not home and has already began throwing away my property. I have tried to fix the situation by paying what is past due but didn't when he said that if I catch up in Rent he will allow me to stay one month and that is all. Which seems unfair that if I catch up that i would have to leave after the following month. He has also stated that he is going to remove the utilities from my name.

    I have sought help from Legal Aid in my county but they didn't get back to me today like they said so I am just trying to see what my options are ahead of time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  2. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    What other landlords have told you is correct. Your landlord cannot do an "illegal eviction". It's important to remember that only a court can grant the landlord an eviction; self-evictions are highly illegal.

    Typically without a court ordered eviction on record, law enforcement won't touch a landlords demand to help them toss out a tenant.

    Some landlords try the self-eviction route because 1. they're cheap and don't want to fork over the money it would take to file for an eviction and/or 2. they're highly pissed that the tenant owes them money. Thus they attempt to bully a tenant through self-eviction. Illegal activities includes turning off utilities.

    If your landlord is removing your property without your consent (or a court order to do so), you can call law enforcement on him. He can also be sued for the loss of your property.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/33127/eviction_laws_in_pennsylvania.html

    Gail
     
  3. Atarhpe

    Atarhpe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the reply. Legal aid contacted me today and basically echoed what you have said. I plan to leave at least before this goes before the Judge but wanted to know my options incase while I was moving things out or at work that incase he throws more out or locks me out what my options where. And like you said the lawyer said that if any of that happens to contact the police and then to contact him.

    I appreciate the rapid reply, Thank you.
     
  4. Atarhpe1

    Atarhpe1 New Member

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    I'm adding to my original thread I just forgot my password and currently don't have access to my computer but could use some insight again.

    This is in Pennsylvania.

    My Landlord never filed for an eviction with the Magistrate Judge. After our last talk the day before Easter I never talked to him again, he didn't come around nor did he call. I figured he had filed and I was awaiting to be served. But he never did.

    Instead last Monday April 27th I came home from work around 12 am to find my door had a brand new lock on it. I didn't notice it until my key wouldn't open my door. I immediately put my things back in my car and phoned the State Police. They took 2 hours to get there and in the time waiting I talked to a few people who said I had the right to get in, I had left my window open previously so I hopped into the Window and unlocked my door and as I did that the State police showed up.

    They said they would make a report but since I was in there wasn't much they could do but did state that what my Landlord had done was not allowed. They took my information down and his information that I had.

    I called off on Tuesday to be home should the Landlord show up but he never did. I couldn't call off 2 days in a row so I went the next day and again when I came home around 4:30pm the door was locked and now the windows were boarded up. I called the State Police again and a Trooper came out pretty quickly. He was more upset this time than the last 2. I told him the situation and he went on to say that the lockout wasn't legal. I then gave him my landlords information and showed him where he lived but he wasn't home.

    The officer said he would try to call him and then let me know. After a while we were able to get a hold of my landlord and he said he would let anyone but ME in the apartment. After a while I was finally allowed in to gather some items that would fit in my vehicle but I had no way to get the rest and now I am not sure if the rest will be there by the time I get it all out and get a hold of him as he's not being cooperative.

    He also tossed my Cat out the door but I was able to locate him soon after. He is now staying with family Members and I am without the rest of my property and no where to go. I have no idea what to do at this point. I don't want to keep bugging the police since the last time they told me it was basically a Civil Matter.

    I have police reports for both lockouts. I have a couple neighbors who have spoken to me and willing to speak for me. I have called the Magistrate Office a few times the week after Easter just to check and make sure that nothing was filed since I didn't trust him to serve me and nothing was.

    I cannot trust this landlord I am almost positive that he will either steal what is left or will steal some of it and some of my items cannot be replaced.

    Any help on what my best action would be, would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.
     
  5. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    It sounds as if your best action is to find another place ASAP. Then go back (with the police if need be) and get all of your items out.

    If you landlord steals/tosses out these items without a court ordered eviction you can sue him for the cost of these but you'd need proof to show what was taken/tossed and their current value.

    Gail
     
  6. Atarhpe

    Atarhpe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I was able to move some items out but not all of it. I do have a storage lot set up for when he "may" allow me to get the rest out.

    I am guessing I take him to small claims for the return or at least value of my items I do have some receipts but not all I also have photos of what items were in my apartment will that do anything or do you need the receipts more so?

    On more question, tomorrow there is a town wide Yard Sale in the town of where the apartment is at, I plan to do a drive through a couple times once I get my car out of the shop to make sure none of my items are in that sale. If I would happened to discover that my items are for sale do I contact the state police and wait for them before taking the items or can I just tell the landlord since they're my items to go ahead and take them?
     
  7. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Pictures are certainly admissable as evidence in a court hearing.

    I'd call the police. You would then have more evidence to show what type of person your landlord is in court if you do decide to file a lawsuit against him.

    Gail
     

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