Legal Updates

Drafting a Notice to Vacate

Mark D. Copoulos

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF A NOTICE TO VACATE?

In Pennsylvania a landlord must terminate a lease by providing the defendant a notice to vacate.  The notice must be delivered to the tenant.  The notice must state whether the tenant is being terminated for; 1.) breach of the lease; 2.) nonpayment of rent; or 3.) termination of the term (i.e., the lease is up).  The notice should specify the date the landlord expects the tenant to vacate the property, the amount of money due (if any), and the nature of the breach of the lease if applicable.  The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 explicitly requires landlords to provide tenants with a notice to vacate unless waived by the lease.

HOW MUCH TIME DOES THE TENANT HAVE TO VACATE?

Pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, a Notice to Vacate for a one-year term based on breach of the lease is fifteen days; a notice to vacate for a lease of a term for more than one year based on breach of the lease is thirty days; a notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent is a mere ten days; a notice to vacate for termination of term is thirty days.

HOW DO I SERVE THE TENANT?

The Notice to Vacate should be delivered on the Tenant via Certified Mail, personal service, or posting to the door of the property.

CAN I FILE AN EVICTION THE SAME DAY I FILE A NOTICE TO VACATE?

 Currently the Philadelphia Municipal Court will accept a Landlord-Tenant complaint for filing before the expiration period of the notice to vacate, however the notice to vacate termination period must have expired before the hearing date.

CONTACT A PHILADELPHIA EVICTION LAWYER TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE

If you have questions about serving the tenant with the notice to vacate and related documents contact our experienced Philadelphia Landlord Tenant lawyers.  We handle all matters of eviction from drafting and serving the notice to vacate, to filing the eviction complaint, and scheduling the sheriff lockout.  For a free consultation contact our office at 267-535-9776.

NOTE: Due to the state-ordered government shut down the Philadelphia Municipal Court has halted filing of all evictions until at least July 11, 2020.  Therefore, you may be unable to evict a tenant prior to this date for nonpayment of rent, breach of the lease, or termination of the term through regular court process.  Right now, the City of Philadelphia is discussing extending the moratorium beyond July 2020.  For continued updates check our website regularly with latest news from the courts.