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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Exclamation Legal Ramifications for Self-Help Eviction

    My question involves an eviction in the state of: Pennsylvania

    I moved into my home and paid them and once we moved into the home, we found out that the heating system had been cut-out of the basement and we had no way to heat the home. We asked for our money back if we had no heat, seeing that it was beginning of March we moved in. I had already started moving things in and did a lot of work in the home, painting, laying new flooring, etc for the landlord to remove most of the security deposit and they told me that they were going to put in wall heaters and restore a heating system within a week. We let them keep the money and moved in under the agreement that they would be doing this within a week and in the meantime, we would use space heaters to keep the home heated. They never did it. So I told them I was refusing rent until they did what they told me to do and also told them I would not be signing the lease until this was done. They still never did it and decided to evict us instead of simply fixing the situation, stating we would not allow them access to the property which was just the weirdest thing I ever heard..they had been in my home, and began working in it and then just never came back and used this as their excuse. Why would I deny heat in my home and want to pay 400.00 a month in staggering electric bills to heat a home with electric space heaters? But this was their defense.

    I told the judge I was not fighting the eviction as we were already looking for a new home. He did, however, grant them 2 months rent for us to pay and nothing else and gave them possession of the home. We were given 10 days from the hearing date. This date ended today. We cannot move into our new home until July 1st and we were told that once the 10 days were up from the judge granting possession, they would then have to go back to the courts and file for an order of possession from the sheriff's and then the sheriff would then post to our door a final move out date in which we had to be out by or else they would physically remove us. We were fine with this because we knew we would be out in time and would have the time to get into our new home.

    Well, last night the landlord told us we had to be out today because it was now 10 days from the district judges decision and we had to leave them the keys. I told them that I called the district magistrate's and they told me the 10 days was to give us time to appeal the judges decision but once that time period is done, they need to get an order of possession which is served to me with the sheriff office and then that final date is the date we have to be gone and they were not listening to me and just kept saying I was wrong and they have possession and I will be out regardless.

    So today they show up at my door, claiming they talked to the sheriff and he told us to leave and that the police were on their way. Our sheriff department is not in over the weekend, except the sheriff on-call for emergency situations and I knew this not to be true. She had trespassing signs in her hand and said that we needed to leave immediately. I am almost 7 months pregnant, with just having my gall bladder removed and have a 4 year old daughter, and did not need the stress from crazy people trying to not go by the landlord/tenant act, and do a self-help evicition when they very well know they are wrong. Neighbors told us they did this also to the previous tenants. I closed the door and called the police. The police came and asked them if they had an order of possession, in which they didn't and they told them that the sheriff department deals with things like this, not them, this was a civil matter and what they were doing was illegal. They just kept on, acting ignorant to the cops, and posting tresspassing signs on the door. When the cops came to talk to me, the landlords then conspicously put padlocks on my door. I went down and saw this and flagged down the cops and they told me to call the courts Monday morning. I told them my animals were locked inside along with my medications, and the cop said,"Well, you gotta do what you gotta do to get back in the home then." Basically telling me to break in I am guessing? Then after the cops left, the landlords came back, realizing I have animals and that they sneakingly locked me out of my home while I was talking to the police, and told me they would unlock the door so I could get them out. I knew I was not in the wrong, and that they were illegally going about evicting me..all my daughters things, her bed, everything was in the home, so once they let me in, I was told to not leave and stay in the home because the police said they would not get involved, it was a civil matter and they were not doing things I stayed. They continued to bang on the windows and try to bully me out of the home, in which I called the police back and as they heard I was calling the police, they left. The police came back, and said they stopped them on the way and pulled them over and that they told them if they continued this, and returned to the property bothering me, it would be considered harassment on their part and they would be arrested. The cop told me he was going to try to get a hold of the judge who was the judge in the eviction hearing since he knew him, and let him know what was happening today since it is the weekend and all courts are closed.

    I read self help evictions were illegal in my state and what they did was punishable by law but in what way and how do I go about dealing with this? I got photos of them putting the locks on my doors to show for evidence and the police said I could get the police report as well Monday but what do I do to hold them responsible for this and then what happens? I am almost 7 months pregnant, with serious complications and have just been driven over the edge by this, along with my 4 year old who is absolutley traumatized. While I was in the home, they kept coming in, and going through my personal belongings and claiming they could and we could do nothing and I have no clue what is going on and I am scared by them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Legal Ramifications for Self-Help Eviction

    You appear to be stating that you regained possession of the home after... it's not clear how many hours, so let's call it a few hours of inconvenience. You say "they kept coming in, and going through my personal belongings and claiming they could" but don't tell us who "they" are or what happened when you told them to stop, or when this occurred in relation to the other events. It's not clear that you have suffered any economic harm and have had the premises restored to your possession pending the landlord's following proper procedures. Please clarify the facts.

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