1. Home »
  2. How to Evict a Tenant (in all 50 States!) »
  3. How to Evict a Tenant in Pennsylvania (7 Steps)

How to Evict a Tenant in Pennsylvania (7 Steps)

Evicting a tenant in Pennsylvania requires the landlord to provide the tenant with appropriate notice of their intent to evict. The type of notice depends on the reason for eviction intent. If the tenant doesn’t respond to the notice in the designated time, the landlord can file a Complaint with the local Magisterial or Municipal Court. If the court deems the complaint legitimate, it will schedule a hearing date. The landlord then must serve the tenant with a copy of the Complaint to notify them of the hearing. If the court issues a judgment in favor of the landlord, the landlord can request an Order of Possession, which requires the tenant to vacate the property within fifteen (15) days.

LawsChapter 500, Chapter 8. Landlord and Tenant

How to Evict

Step 1 – Send Eviction Notice to Tenant

The landlord must provide proper notice before initiating formal eviction proceedings with the court. The notice gives the tenant a specified amount of time to fix the breach or vacate the premises. The landlord can deliver the notice to the tenant in person or post it in a conspicuous place on the rental unit. It’s advisable to keep a written record of the method of service.1

  • Non-Payment of Rent (10-Day Notice): This notifies the tenant that they are late paying rent. They have ten (10) days to either pay the back rent or vacate the premises.2
  • Illegal Drugs (10-Day Notice): A landlord uses this notice when a tenant has been convicted of using, distributing, manufacturing, or selling illegal drugs at the rental unit.3,4
  • Non-Compliance (15/30-Day Notice): This notice informs the tenant they have violated a term of their lease agreement, and they must either fix the breach or vacate the property. If the tenant has lived in the unit for less than one year, the landlord can provide fifteen (15) days’ notice. If the tenant has lived in the unit for more than one year, the landlord must provide at least thirty (30) days’ notice.2
  • Month-to-Month Tenancy (30-Day Notice): The state of Pennsylvania does not establish a legal requirement for the timelines on notifying of the end to a month-to-month tenancy. Landlords need to establish this timeline in lease agreements on a case-by-case basis. The general norm in the state is thirty (30) days.5

Step 2 – Wait for Tenant Response

The landlord waits the number of days on the notice to allow the tenant to respond, cure the breach, or pay overdue rent. It is preferable to come to a compromise outside of court if possible.

Step 3 – File in Court

  • AVERAGE PROCESSING TIME: Ten (10) days to Three (3) months5,6
  • FILING FEE: $70.25 for Complaint; Additional $70.25 to enforce Order of Possession7
  • WHERE TO FILE: Magisterial or Municipal Court local to the property in question

Suppose the tenant doesn’t respond to the notice in time. In that case, the landlord can begin formal eviction proceedings by filing a Landlord/Tenant Complaint (AOPC 310A) with the Magisterial or Municipal Court local to the property in question. The court will then issue a summons that outlines the Complaint and specifies the date of the court appearance. The hearing will be within seven to ten days of issuing the summons.6

Step 4 – Serve the Tenant

The court will issue the summons to the appropriate writ server, constable, or sheriff. That party is responsible for serving the tenant.6 They can serve the tenant in person, by certified mail, or by posting the summons in a conspicuous place on the rental unit.8

Step 5 – Appear in Court

Both the landlord and tenant appear in court on the hearing date. It is important to bring copies of all documents filed with the court to the hearing, including a copy of the original eviction notice. 

Tenants can win in court based on several common tenant defenses. In Pennsylvania, tenants may claim that the landlord is out of compliance with any of the following responsibilities:

  • The landlord attempts to evict the tenant via self-help procedures, such as shutting off utilities or changing the rental unit’s locks.9
  • The landlord makes errors in the notice, the complaint, or how either document was served.9
  • The landlord did not maintain the rental unit according to the appropriate housing codes.10
  • The landlord attempts to evict the tenant in retaliation for exercising a legal right against the landlord.9
  • The landlord discriminates against the tenant based on age, disability, familial status, gender, national origin, race, or religion.11,12

Step 6 – File for Order of Possession

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, and the tenant doesn’t vacate the property within five (5) days of the judgment, the landlord can request an Order of Possession.13 This requests a court order to force the tenant to vacate within a specified number of days.

Step 7 – Repossess the Property

The landlord can use the Writ of Possession to utilize the writ server, constable, or sheriff to remove the tenant and their possessions from the property forcibly. The server has forty-eight (48) hours to execute the writ and can execute it on the eleventh day after service.13

Video: Evictions in Pennsylvania


  1. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-evictions-work-pennsylvania.html
  2. § 501(b)
  3. § 501(d)
  4. § 505-A
  5. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pennsylvania-notice-requirements-terminate-month-month-tenancy.html
  6. § 502(a)
  7. http://www.pacourts.us/courts/commonwealth-court/copy-and-fee-requirements
  8. § 502(b)
  9. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tenant-defenses-evictions-pennsylvania.html
  10. https://www.dli.pa.gov/ucc/Pages/default.aspx
  11. https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-2
  12. https://www.phrc.pa.gov/Resources/Law-and-Legal/Documents/PA%20Human%20Relations%20Act%20(1).pdf
  13. § 503(b)