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Landlord-Tenant: Domestic Violence Exception to 10-day Appeal Limit in Eviction Cases.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | December 30, 2016

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

No. 1,293

STEPHANO BROS. REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT ASSOCIATES v. DEBORAH WILLIAMS, NOS. 2571 EDA 2015, 2629 EDA 2015. Superior Court, filed November 2, 2016

In this non-precedential decision, the Superior Court construes a little-known provision in the Landlord and Tenant Act regarding appeal of a landlord-tenant case involving recovery of possession of the leased premises when the tenant is a victim of domestic violence. The statute, found at 68 P.S.§250.513(b) states:

“Within ten days after the rendition of judgment by a lower court arising out of residential lease or within thirty days after a judgment by a lower court arising out of a nonresidential lease or a residential lease involving a victim of domestic violence, either party may appeal to the court of common pleas[.]”

The applicable Rule is Pa.R.Civ.P.D.J. 1002, which does not mention the statutory exception for victims of domestic violence.

On May 15, 2015 the Magisterial District Judge entered an order for rent and possession in a landlord-tenant case. On June 15, the tenant appealed to the Court of Common Pleas.

The Court held that the appeal was not timely because the appellant did not qualify under the Landlord and Tenant Act as a victim of domestic violence. The Court notes:

“The Landlord Tenant Act defines a victim of domestic violence as “a person who has obtained a protection from abuse order against another individual or can provide suitable evidence as the court shall direct.” 68 P.S. § 250.513.”

In the hearing below, no Protection from Abuse Order was produced and the trial court stated that it was not convinced by the Tenant’s testimony. The Superior Court accepted that finding.  Thus, the Tenant was not qualified to appeal within 30 days.

A footnote:  yes, there are 31 days in May.  June 15 is in fact 31 days, not 30 days after May 15.  The thirtieth day, June 14, is Flag Day, a court holiday.  So, June 15 is the last day to file a 30-day appeal.






CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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