A property squatter occupies a property without the owner’s permission and usually without paying rent or any other compensation. “Squatting” typically involves living in abandoned or vacant properties, although sometimes squatters may take over properties still in use or currently occupied. The laws and consequences of squatting vary widely depending on state or local laws and regulations. In some locations, squatters may gain legal rights to the property if they occupy it for a certain period and meet specific conditions. In contrast, others may face near eviction and potential legal action from the property owner/landlord. This article covers squatters rights Philadelphia PA, and how to remove these individuals properly.


What Are The Squatters Rights in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, property squatting is governed by state laws and local ordinances. As of my last update, Pennsylvania does not have specific laws granting rights to squatters, and squatting is generally considered illegal. However, the process for dealing with squatters can vary, and eviction laws and procedures must be followed.

Philadelphia property owners typically have legal avenues to remove squatters through eviction proceedings. These proceedings usually involve providing notice to the squatters and then going through the court system to obtain an eviction order if the squatters refuse to leave voluntarily.

Property owners need to consult with legal professionals familiar with Pennsylvania’s laws and the specific procedures in Philadelphia when dealing with squatters to ensure they follow the correct legal process and protect their rights as property owners. Also, landlords in Philadelphia will want to avoid a situation in which there is an adverse possession claim of the property when dealing with squatters rights Philadelphia PA.

Adverse Possession in Real Estate

Adverse possession is a legal concept that allows someone to claim ownership of land or property under certain conditions, typically after openly occupying and using the land for a specified time, often referred to as the “statutory period.” The specific requirements for adverse possession vary depending on the jurisdiction, including the time required for the occupation, the manner of occupation, and whether the occupation was hostile or under a claim of right.

In Pennsylvania, the requirements for adverse possession include:

  1. Actual, continuous, exclusive, visible, and notorious possession of the property.
  2. Possession must be hostile, meaning without the permission of the valid owner.
  3. Possession must be uninterrupted for a statutory period of 21 years.
  4. The adverse possessor must pay all taxes on the property during the statutory period.

If someone meets these requirements, they may be able to claim ownership of the property through adverse possession. However, the process can be complex, and it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to understand the specific laws and requirements in Pennsylvania and to navigate any legal proceedings effectively involving squatters rights Philadelphia.

Landlords Rights in Philadelphia With Removing Squatter

In Philadelphia, landlords have legal rights when dealing with squatters, but the process can be complex and may require following specific procedures to remove the squatter from the property. Here are some general guidelines for landlords dealing with squatters in Philadelphia:

  1. Provide notice: Landlords must notify the squatter to vacate the property. This notice should comply with state and local laws, including the Philadelphia Municipal Code. The notice period may vary depending on the circumstances and the type of property involved.
  2. File for eviction: If the squatter refuses to leave after receiving notice, landlords may need to file for eviction through the court system. This process involves filing a complaint with the Philadelphia Municipal Court and attending a hearing to obtain an eviction order.
  3. Prove ownership: Landlords must demonstrate their property ownership to the court to proceed with eviction. This typically involves providing documentation such as the property deed or lease agreement.
  4. Follow legal procedures: Landlords must follow all legal procedures for eviction in Philadelphia, including providing proper notice to the squatter, serving court documents, and attending scheduled court hearings. Failure to follow these procedures can delay the eviction process or result in dismissal of the case.
  5. Seek legal assistance: Dealing with squatters can be legally complex, and landlords may benefit from seeking help from an attorney experienced in landlord-tenant law in Philadelphia. An attorney can guide the eviction process and protect landlords’ rights.
  6. Attend Court Hearing: The landlord and the squatter will be able to present their case at the eviction hearing. The landlord must prove their property ownership and provide evidence that the squatter is unlawfully occupying the premises.
  7. Obtain Eviction Order: If the court rules in favor of the landlord, they will issue an eviction order, instructing the squatter to vacate the property within a specified period, typically ten days.
  8. Enforce Eviction Order: If the squatter fails to comply with the eviction order, the landlord can request assistance from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office to remove the squatter from the property. The sheriff will schedule a time for the eviction, during which the squatter must leave the premises.

Landlords must follow all legal procedures and requirements when attempting to remove a squatter from their property in Philadelphia. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law can help landlords understand their rights and obligations throughout the process and navigate any legal challenges effectively.


PA Squatters Rights Protection

Pennsylvania has protections against squatters with the “Landlord and Tenant Act,” which allows landlords to evict and successfully remove squatters from their property.

  • The Pennsylvania “Landlord and Tenant Act” clearly establishes landlords’ and tenants’ rights and responsibilities in the rental agreement. It covers the guidelines of the lease agreements, the amount of the security deposits, the potential for rent increases, house repairs/maintenance, and rules on entry to the rental property. The Landlord and Tenant Act also covers the guidelines for evictions, laws against discrimination, and property abandonment. Significantly, this act helps ensure fair and transparent rental practices while outlining procedures for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants.

Squatters Rights Philadelphia

If there is a squatter on your property, take swift and appropriate action to avoid further problems. Squatters can cause extensive damage to your property while refusing to leave, as squatters’ rights laws often protect them for an extended period. The best advice is not to confront the squatters yourself. Hiring a squatters’ rights attorney to guide you through the legal process is vital. Next, follow the “Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act’s” guidelines to remove the squatters from your property. If this process is obeyed, homeowners can protect their property and evict squatters safely and legally. 

If it’s too challenging to continue dealing with unpaid squatters or you need professional assistance, please get in touch with Buying Property 215. Our years of experience and knowledge can help guide homeowners through the stressful circumstances of squatters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!