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Appealing an Eviction or Money Judgement in Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence

How can a tenant appeal a judgment of the district court?

If a tenant disagrees with the court’s decision and would like another court to take a look at their case, they can file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. The Court of Common Pleas is the court system above the Magisterial District Courts and handles appeals from the courts below.

Is there a deadline for filing an appeal?

There are different deadlines for filing appeals depending on what was decided. If the landlord was granted possession, the tenant must appeal this decision within 10 calendar days from the date of the judgment. If the tenant does not appeal within 10 days, the landlord may request an Order for Possession and evict 10 days after the service of the Order on the tenant. If the tenant does not want to file an appeal of the possession judgment, but only the money judgment, he has 30 days from the date of the district court’s judgment to file an appeal. The landlord also has 10 days to appeal the possession judgment and 30 days to appeal only the money judgment. If no appeals are filed within 30 days, the judgment is final.

Can a tenant appeal an eviction and remain in the property?

  • If a tenant wants to stay in the property while their appeal is being processed, the tenant must file an appeal within 10 calendar days of the district court judgment. And they must also establish a supersedeas or escrow account at the county Prothonotary’s Office. If rent is listed as owed in the judgment, the low-income tenant must pay 1/3 of a month’s rent when they file the appeal and the remainder within 20 days. Rent is then due every 30 days from the date of filing the appeal. If no rent is listed as owing in the judgment, they will deposit a full month’s rent 30 days after the appeal. The tenant must bring cash or money order which will be placed in “escrow” account until the appeal has been decided on.
  • At the time of filing the appeal, if the tenant has already paid rent for the month in which they are appealing, they must indicate this on an affidavit (a document that states that they are telling the truth) and provide a receipt. If they don’t have a receipt, the affidavit should be sufficient.
  • The court will give the tenant a stamped copy of the appeal. Remember, rent is due 30 days from the date of filing the appeal, which you have to keep track of since you are not provided with a rent payment schedule in Lawrence and Beaver county.
  • The tenant should then be sure to mark the date of the arbitration hearing on his calendar and attend the hearing. However, Beaver county only schedules an arbitration hearing when possession is not an issue.

Can a tenant appeal an eviction and remain in the property?

  • If the landlord gets a final judgment at the district court or in Common Pleas Court, he can move to collect the money by levying on the tenant’s personal property.
  • Either a constable (if it is a district court judgment) or the sheriff (if it is a judgment in Common Pleas Court) will make a list of the tenant’s property and schedule a sale.
  • If the tenant wants to stop the sale of their property, they can file an appeal or a claim for exemption at the Magisterial District Court office or the county Prothonotary’s Office, depending on the court in which the judgment was obtained. The tenant is permitted to keep up to $300 of property.
  • Alternatively, they can file for bankruptcy. Doing this will suspend any collection proceedings against the tenant.
  • In collecting their money, a landlord can ask the court to have a tenant’s wages attached to pay the judgment. However, the amount taken from the tenant’s paycheck cannot be more than 10% of their gross adjusted income or cause them to fall below poverty. If the tenant is already below the poverty-line, they cannot be subject to attachment of wages for landlord debt.
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