Should You Hire a Lawyer to Evict a Tenant?

Should You Hire a Lawyer to Evict a Tenant?

Owning real estate gives you the chance to earn money by renting out your property.

Unfortunately, some tenants can cause major problems by not paying rent on time, or even missing rent payments altogether. Others cause damage to your property or engage in illegal activities on the premises.

When these things happen, you will want to evict the troublesome tenants, but the process in Philadelphia can be extremely complex. You must properly follow the law or face penalties of your own. This is why many landlords hire a lawyer to evict a tenant to ensure it is done the right way.

What Are Grounds for the Eviction of Tenants?

Landlords can’t just evict tenants for no reason or because of discrimination. They must have evidence of non-payment of rent, hold over tenancy, serious breach of the provisions of the lease, or that the tenant was engaging in criminal activity on the premises.

If a tenant has committed these grounds for eviction, you can begin the eviction process. However, you should never evict them by changing the locks or cutting the utility services. This would only hurt you in the process of getting them off your property.

Steps of the Eviction Process

When you conduct an eviction following the law, these are the steps you will take:

Give Notice

Evictions require you to provide a notice of your intent to evict. This lets your tenants know that legal action is being taken against them. It must include the date of the eviction, your name or leasing company, the tenant’s name, the property address, and the reason for the eviction. Simply telling your tenant you need them out by next week is not proper notice.

File Suit

Should the tenant not vacate the premises as per the date on your written eviction notice, you should file a complaint. Because of the legal intricacies, this is where a lawyer can be instrumental.


There will then be a hearing where you and the tenant must appear in court. If the tenant fails to appear, the court will likely impose a default judgment. If you don’t show up, the same default judgment would apply to you.


At this point, you and your tenant can either agree to attempt a resolution through negotiation, mediation, or contest. When both of you disagree, a contest is the default which takes this to trial. In court, any agreement that is created is binding. If the tenant fails to adhere to the results, the eviction process will continue.


When you want a trial, the mediation fails, or there is a default by either party on the in-court agreement, a contest will be the next step. The tenant may agree to vacate within a specified period, but if not, they will have 10 days to appeal if you win at trial.

Sheriff Involvement

If your tenant stays on the property after the judgment and expiration of the window of appeals, your attorney will contact the sheriff’s office and file a writ of possession. This action prompts the sheriff to post a notice to vacate the leased property. The tenant will have 10 more days to vacate once this posting is made.

If they do not leave, your lawyer will file an alias writ on the 11th day and the sheriff will then schedule a lockout. They will enter with force if necessary to make the tenant leave the property and then lock the tenant out.

How a Lawyer Helps When Evicting a Tenant in Philadelphia

Tenants must follow the rules when renting. If not, you are within your rights to evict them. Hiring landlord-tenant lawyers will ensure that you do everything properly on your end. With someone who understands the intricacies of property laws on your side, you will be able to remove a tenant who has committed grounds for eviction on your property.

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