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  1. #1

    Default Tenant Threatened With Eviction if He Places Future Rent Into Escrow

    My question involves an eviction in the state of: Pennsylvania

    Can I be evicted for hiring an attorney to put my rent into a third party escrow account? I have been threatened with eviction by the owner if I do. I have lived here for 9 years. I have never been late with my rent. I owe no money.

    There are a multitude of unaddressed repair and maintenance requests in the common areas of the building, in my apartment and outside the building. Putting my money into an escrow account with the managements name on the account is my last resort. I asked the owner if he was threatening me with eviction if I assert my rights and he said "you can interpret it any way you want." He refuses to hire a proper cleaning staff for a 20 unit building. I am very stressed and ill right now.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    The Pennsylvania Rent Withholding Act protects you from evection for placing rent in escrow if the legal procedural requirement are followed. You don't just get to put your rent into escrow. And you can't be evicted for hiring an attorney.

    Some of the requirements include having the premises inspected by local code official, notification to the landlord of the necessary repairs with a time frame for repair, and how much money will be withheld.

    This from the Act:
    A tenant may not be evicted for any reason while he or she continues to make timely rental payments to the escrow agent.
    You can Google the Pennsylvania Rent Withholding Act for more information but you will need an attorney to carry this out for you.

    You should also be aware that the repairs you want made have to go to the inhabitability of your unit, and the safety and welfare of tenants. If there is garbage or safety violations in the common areas that is one thing but the walls need painting is another.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    Thank you for responding. Main problem right now is that we can't do our laundry because the laundry room hasn't been cleaned properly since I moved n in 2005. Floors have not been mopped since I have been here . Once I stand stationary by the washers or dryers I am covered with about 40 or 50 fleas and then there is a problem with a fruit fly infestation.

    The man in charge of cleaning and taking out the garbage only takes out the garbage. He vacuums our hallways every 2 to 5 months only. Management has received 3 violations from local municipality for debris outside. We had a rat problem outside and management refused to allow municipality to set traps according to the inspector.

    Six steps in the back (outside) are never cleared of leaves, snow and ice. Leaves have not been cleaned for literally decades from what I can see. they must mulch, which is ok, but they get wet on the sidewalk and steps.

    We also had a young man that has a slew of charges for harassing me and 6 other tenants from 2005 to 2009. We felt very threatened by him. He is gone now, but only through my efforts. I had no support from any other tenant or management or owners. I mention this to give you a little context.

    In my apartment I suffered mild to moderate electric shock up to my elbow because I have no grounded plug outlets. I also have no safety outlets in the bathroom and kitchen. Other tenants had their outlets replaced. I have no shelves in my linen closet. They shrunk (built in 1929). I constantly have to shore up the bedroom walls due to deteriorating plaster. I need them professionally maintained.

    I have given them from seven to nine years notice on all of these points. Management has received hundreds of complaints from tenants in my building and in other buildings that they manage. Their only option is to move out. I must stand my ground. I am very low income, I have no car or family. The local county housing agency from which I receive rental assistance with a voucher are more concerned with tenant violations than landlord violations and are not in place to defend us. I will go to my local Neighborhood Legal Services. I'm very scared I am going to lose my home. I have a bad back and vertigo. Landlords retaliate and get away with it every day in the US. Throughout it all I have been a very patient and polite tenant but we get no points for that.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    It sounds like there are code violations and health violations. By all means, go speak with Legal Services. And don't be scared. Speak softly and carry a big stick.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    Housing Authority inspectors basically check to see if the roof is caving in and that's it. Their only remedy is that I get a new voucher and leave. I live in an upper middle class neighborhood and no one will except my voucher.

    The health department found no violations back in 2007. There were seven tenants leaving their rotting garbage in laundry room. They were elderly which was understandable but the stench was awful. They did not address other issues. I warned them that we will be getting rats soon outside but they ignored the debris problem.

    I'll apply for an intake appointment on Monday. I must make it clear that I want to stay here.

    Thank you for reading all of that. I know it was a lot.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    The Pennsylvania Rent Withholding Act protects you from evection for placing rent in escrow if the legal procedural requirement are followed. You don't just get to put your rent into escrow. And you can't be evicted for hiring an attorney.

    Some of the requirements include having the premises inspected by local code official, notification to the landlord of the necessary repairs with a time frame for repair, and how much money will be withheld.

    This from the Act:

    You can Google the Pennsylvania Rent Withholding Act for more information but you will need an attorney to carry this out for you.

    How about providing a link to the act?

    I couldn't find it and I'm pretty good at finding this stuff.

    A 1971 PA appellate decision refers to it as Rent Withholding Act, 35 P.S. 1700-1 but I have only been able to find secondary references to it and not the primary code.

    Title 35 P.S. is Health and Safety and I wasn't able to find it in there.

    The PA landlord tenant statute refers to rent withholding in

    Section 250-206 Statement of Escrowed Funds.
    Whenever an agency or department certifies that a dwelling is uninhabitable and a
    tenant elects to pay rent into an escrow account established under the act of January 24, 1966
    (1965 P.L. 1534, No. 536), referred to as the City Rent Withholding Act, it shall be the duty of
    the certifying agency or department to submit a monthly statement of escrowed funds to the
    landlord affected by first class mail.


    But that appears to require that a government agency declare the dwelling uninhabitable before a tenant can withhold rent.

    I would caution the OP to consult an attorney before withholding rent.

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    Quote Quoting Perther
    View Post
    I live in an upper middle class neighborhood

    There were seven tenants leaving their rotting garbage in laundry room. They were elderly which was understandable but the stench was awful. They did not address other issues. I warned them that we will be getting rats soon outside but they ignored the debris problem.

    How does that translate into an "upper middle class" neighborhood?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    I grant you that it is elusive to find it in the codified statutes but there is lots of current info that appears in a search.

    And I did say that the dwelling had to be inspected by local governmental to determine if the unit was inhabitable according to code.

    This might help you find some more info.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    I think i'm screwed. The only code enforcement violations are on the outside the property. Local inspectors are not allowed to inspect inside except for fire department, health department.

    I have had concrete experiences with the health department in my 23 years as a renter. They will not site a landlord unless there are rats running around inside. Honestly, they are there to protect private property investors. I lived in a place with a brand new furnace but the windows were installed in 1906. There was very little protection from the frigid nights in the North East. I spent the entire winter with my heavy coat and three layers of clothing even with the heat on. The health department resolved the issue by taking that landlord's word that he would fix the problem "come next October". By the time they notify the landlord and the 30 day notice is up the tenant usually moves out. They don't see anything wrong with a hallway floor not being vacuumed for 5 months.

    Is it absolutely necessary that a code enforcer verify everything I listed above? The owner and manager are keenly aware of their neglect. They might budge if they see the rent being withheld.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    I grant you that it is elusive to find it in the codified statutes but there is lots of current info that appears in a search.

    And I did say that the dwelling had to be inspected by local governmental to determine if the unit was inhabitable according to code.

    This might help you find some more info.
    That article is from 1978.

    Doesn't help at all.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Building Owner Threatening Eviction if I Put Futre Rent into Third Party Escrow

    I was referring to the fact that in my neighborhood Section 8 vouchers are frowned upon. I have no options to move anywhere. I have no car and in my city public transportation has been drastically cut due the crisis and contradictions of Capitalism

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    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    That article is from 1978.

    Doesn't help at all.
    Are you saying that tenants in Pennsylvania have not legal statute to protect their right to withhold rent with the help of an attorney? With respect, is this a landlord friendly comment by looking for minute details that would end up favoring a landlord?

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