Tenant Filing Against Landlord
In my last blog I told you how a landlord filed. This blog will tell you how a tenant can file. As with this entire series, this is not legal advice; simply, it’s an overview of what happens at magistrate court.
A tenant filing against a landlord is typically because of the condition of the unit or repairs that re not being made by the owner. Most times, the tenant will simply say “I’m not going to pay the rent” but, this is not a deciding factor with the Pocono magistrates. What you must do is notify the landlord in writing of the problem and give them a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem. Often it’s no heat, poor water source or another repair that’s more than just a minor problem but something that interferes with the quiet enjoyment of the unit that the tenant occupies.
If the landlord does not comply with making the repair or communicate back to the tenant with regard to the status of the repair, then the tenant should notify the owner one last time that they are (1) holding back rent in lieu of the repair not being done or (2) giving them one last chance to fix it and if not completed within ” X ” amount of time, that further action will be taken against them.
Money can then be held in escrow: Note: it is highly suggested that you either use a management company, such as NEPA Management Associates or you can do it yourself by opening up an account and depositing money equal to the rent in that account. Hold the rent money with instructions not to release it to the landlord or, you simply need to have that money reserved in some way, shape or form.
Don’t just not pay the rent and then spend the money. You should keep it somewhere in safe keeping until such time as the court makes the decision as to who is to get the money and what the outcome of the trial is.
You as tenant then file at magistrate court just as an owner or landlord would. You’ll find Pocono magistrates very much in your corner if you follow the rules.
As I stated in the beginning, this is an overview as to what happens in the Pocono Mountains which is where I am most familiar with the magisterial courts and representing tenants and owners in this specific area. It is not legal advice and it should only be looked at as an overview as to what happens and nothing more than that.
See you again in a couple of days.
Thomas R. Wilkins is CEO of NEPA Management Associates, Inc. a full service management company located in the Poconos. NEPA Management Associates has a number of residential and commercial income producing properties that they manage for third party owners and/or lenders. NEPA Management has been in business for the past 20 years. During that time they have represented numerous owners and tenants in magisterial court.