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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2020 01:41 PM
From: Representative Greg Rothman
To: All House members
Subject: Accelerated Order of Possession (Former HB71)
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation that would amend “The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951" (Act 20) to provide for revised eviction proceedings.

Though current law provides a process for the eviction of tenants, procedurally, this is not what takes place due to an ambiguity in the law and the Pennsylvania District Justice Rules of Court. I believe that Act 20 should be amended to clarify a significant inconsistency.

Currently, following an eviction proceeding where the district justice rules in the landlord’s favor, the landlord can file an Order of Possession (Writ of Possession in Philadelphia Municipal Court) on the 6th day after the date of the judgment under Act 20. Present-day Pennsylvania District Justice Rules, however, do not allow the landlord to actually file the Order of Possession until the 11th day after the date the judgment is rendered (due to the tenant’s 10 day appeal period). Once the Order for Possession is filed (11th day), the landlord then must wait another 10 days after it is served before proceeding with the lockout of the tenant. This process results in a 21-day timeframe. I believe that this was not the intent of Act 20.

My legislation allows a landlord to request issuance of an order for possession immediately after judgement and the district judge must immediately thereafter issue the order for possession. In turn, the order must be served no later than 48 hours after the request was filed by the landlord and executed on the TWELFTH day following service upon the tenant of the leased property.

At any time before delivery of possession, the tenant may, in any case for the recovery of possession solely due to failure to pay rent due, supersede by paying to the constable, sheriff or writ server the rent due and costs.

The rationale behind my legislation is that when a tenant has lost in court and has not taken an appeal, there is no legitimate interest served by allowing the tenant to live in his/her apartment rent-free. Eventually, this “carrying cost” is passed on to other tenants that are paying their rent, in the form of higher rental payments. In addition, the delay in evicting the tenant often results in destruction of the property by the tenant and greater cost to the landlord that is passed on to other tenants in the form of higher rental payments.

Please consider co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Previous Co-sponsors: BERNSTINE, IRVIN, KEEFER, F. KELLER,

Introduced as HB1015