Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law - Click here to return to US LandlordThe purpose of this site is to provide landlords and tenants with information about their responsibilities and legal rights. This site is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Because factual circumstances vary in each case, detailed legal research or opinion may be necessary to resolve any problems.
State of Pennsylvania Eviction Law
68 Pa.S. Section 250.502. Summons and service
(a) Upon the filing of the complaint, the justice of the peace shall issue a summons which recites
substantially the complaint, is directed to any writ server, constable or the sheriff of the county
and commands that writ server, constable or sheriff to summon the tenant to appear before the
justice of the peace to answer the complaint on a date not less than seven nor more than ten days
from the date of the summons.
(b) The summons may be served personally on the tenant, by mail or by posting the summons
conspicuously on the leased premises.
68 Pa.S. Section 250.503. HEARING; JUDGMENT; WRIT OF POSSESSION; PAYMENT OF
RENT BY TENANT
(a) On the day and at the time appointed or on a day to which the case may be adjourned, the
justice of the peace shall proceed to hear the case. If it appears that the complaint has been
sufficiently proven, the justice of the peace shall enter judgment against the tenant:
1.that the real property be delivered up to the landlord;
2.for damages, if any, for the unjust detention of the demised premises; and
3.for the amount of rent, if any, which remains due and unpaid.
(b) At the request of the landlord, the justice of the peace shall, after the fifth day after the
rendition of the judgment, issue a writ of possession directed to the writ server, constable or
sheriff, commanding him to deliver forthwith actual possession of the real property to the landlord
and to levy the costs and amount of judgment for damages and rent, if any, on the tenant, in the
same manner as judgments and costs are levied and collected on writs of execution. This writ is to
be served within no loater than forty-eight hours and executed on the eleventh day following
service upon the tenant of the leased premises. Service of the writ of possession shall be served
personally on the tenant by personal service or by posting the writ conspicuously on the leased
(c) At any time before any writ of possession is actually executed, the tenant may, in any case for
the recovery of possession solely because of failure to pay rent due, supersede and render the writ
of no effect by paying to the writ server, constable or sheriff the rent actually in arrears and the
68 Pa.S. Section 250.504. RETURN BY CONSTABLE OR SHERIFF
The writ server, constable or sheriff shall make return of the writ of possession to the justice of
the peace within ten days after receiving the writ. The return shall show:
(1) the date, time, place and manner of service of the writ;
(2) if the writ was satisfied by the payment of rent due or in arrears and costs by or on behalf of
the tenant, the amount of that payment and its distribution;
(3) the time and date of any forcible entry and ejectment, or that no entry for the purpose of
ejectment had been made; and
(4) his expenses and fees, which expenses and fees shall have been paid by the tenant or, if paid
by the landlord, reimbursed to the landlord by the tenant in order to satisfy the writ.
68 Pa.S. Section 250.513. APPEAL BY TENANT TO COMMON PLEAS COURT
(a) Every tenant who files an appeal to a court of common pleas of a judgment of the lower court
involving an action under this act for the recovery of possession of real property or for rent due
shall deposit with the prothonotary a sum equal to the amount of rent due as determined by the
lower court. This sum representing the rent due or in question shall be placed in a special escrow
account by the prothonotary. The prothonotary shall only dispose of these funds by order of
(b) Within ten days after the rendition of judgment by a lower court arising out of residential lease
or within thirty days after a judgment by a lower court arising out of a nonresidential lease or a
residential lease involving a victim of domestic violence, either party may appeal to the court of
common pleas, and the appeal by the tenant shall operate as a supersedeas only if the tenant pays
in cash or bond the amount of any judgment rendered by the lower court or is a victim of
domestic violence and pays in cash any rent which becomes due during the court of common pleas
proceedings within ten days after the date each payment is due into an escrow account with the
prothonotary or the supersedeas shall be summarily terminated.
(c) Upon application by the landlord, the court shall release appropriate sums from the escrow
account on a continuing basis while the appeal is pending to compensate the landlord for the
tenant's actual possession and use of the premises during the pendency of the appeal.
(d) Upon application by the tenant, the court shall release appropriate sums from the escrow
account on a continuing basis while the appeal is pending to directly compensate those providers
of habitable services which the landlord is required to provide under law or under the lease.
(e) As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them
int his subsection:
District justice, magistrate or any other court having jurisdiction over landlord and tenant
matters, excluding a court of common pleas.
"Victim of domestic violence."
A person who has obtained a protection from abuse order against another individual or can
provide other suitable evidence as the court shall direct.