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I am a landlord in Pennsylvania. Our tenant was supposed to…

Customer Question
Good morning. I...

Good morning. I am a landlord in Pennsylvania. Our tenant was supposed to be out of the house on the 1st. They handed over the Keys to our property manager (They said they lost 1 key and gave one back to him). They are still there moving, can I legally change the locks if they handed over the keys to the house?

Lawyer's Assistant: Does this involve a written or oral agreement? Is it a month-to-month lease or fixed term?

Written fixed lease. I told them last October their lease would not be renewed and reminded them several times throughout the year.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No, we live on the other side of the state and we are hoping to avoid filing for eviction. I don't have the money or the time to take off of work to drive 4 hours to go to another eviction hearing. We attempted to evict them last year

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

We have tried to work with them. Our property manager is going over this morning to see if they have vacated the property. I just need to know what to tell him if he gets there and they are still moving.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
8/4/2017
Lawyer: Bill Attorney, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Bill Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2,021
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Dear Customer,

Thank you for posting your landlord tenant question in PA. The law is that a tenant that fails to vacate at the agreed date is holding over. With a holdover tenant you need to bring eviction/ unlawful detainer proceedings to legally complete the process.

Hence, any changing of the locks or other lockout measures with technically be in violation of the law.

You are entitled to deduct rent for each day the tenant is holding over. This can be deducted from the deposit.

Otherwise by agreement with the tenant you can change the locks.

If you let the tenant know of the fact that you will be billing him daily then he might move out that bit faster.

We are here to help.

Please follow up with me when needed.

In return remember to rate positively.

You do this by rating 5*****, 4**** or better.

So I hope you rate FIVE STARS today

This gives me a credit for my time and assistance.

Best

Attorney Bill

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
even though they handed over the keys to my property manager I can't change the locks? They are, I assume, leaving the door unlocked when they are going in and out of the property. How am I supposed to prevent vandals from going in and destroying my property?
Lawyer: Bill Attorney, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Once they give up full possession you can move in or change the locks.

The tenants actions are inconsistent by giving up the keys but remaining.

These needs to be clarified with them.

So long as they are in possession and refusing to hand over possession they can be held legally accountable for damage to the property.

Please follow up with me when needed.

In return remember to rate positively.

You do this by rating 5*****, 4**** or better.

So I hope you rate FIVE STARS today

This gives me a credit for my time and assistance.

Best

Attorney Bill

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
The deposit is already gone because they never paid their last month's rent and they are behind on 2 months of utility bills.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
if the keys are not what transfers possession, what exactly is the act that transfers the possession from them to us?
Lawyer: Bill Attorney, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

When they vacate the property/ leave the property.

You can sue in the small claims court for each day thereafter.

The legal process is to serve them a notice to vacate and follow up with the eviction process in the court where they are holding over.

remember to rate positively.

You do this by rating 5*****, 4**** or better.

So I hope you rate FIVE STARS today

This gives me a credit for my time and assistance.

Best

Attorney Bill

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Honestly I don't even care about the money. I just want the property. We have new tenants coming in at the end of the month and I need to get the property ready for them.
Lawyer: Bill Attorney, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

The law is that you provide the tenant a 15 day notice to quit before filing eviction proceedings.

https://eforms.com/eviction/pa/pennsylvania-15-30-notice-to-comply-or-quit-noncompliance/

Resorting to self-help remedies are common but in fact not legally sound.

remember to rate positively.

You do this by rating 5*****, 4**** or better.

So I hope you rate FIVE STARS today

This gives me a credit for my time and assistance.

Best

Attorney Bill

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
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