A couple live in an apartment. Problems arise in the relationship that results in domestic violence. The girl leaves with the baby and goes to a friends house. The boy does not pay rent and girl has no knowledge of this. Since she is not at the house, she has no knowledge of the eviction proceedings or hearing. When she finally gets her mail, the judgment and possession order from the District Magistrate is there. Typically, it is 10 days to appeal a landlord/tenant law in Pa, unless there is domestic violence, which allows for 30 days. (68 Pa S. Section 250.513 (b) Girl wants to keep the apartment, but needs this 30 days so she goes to the magistrate law in hand and the PFA to prove the domestic violence aspect plus explains the entire situation. Upon showing this law AND this same law clearly printed on the order from his own office, the magistate simply says, "I have never heard of this" and "I really dont know what to do with this." and suggests the girl go to Common pleas court and file the appeal in the 10 days anyway, completely disregarding this 30 day time frame clearly allowed under the law. Even contacting the prothonotary, appeals division of landlord/tenant Common Pleas Court, they too validated the fact that it is 30 days if domestic violence is present.
As you can see, this is a difficult situation to be in. Girl suggests that magistrates office call in the name of justice to see for themselves that what she is claiming is in fact true, but is not accepted by DJ staff. Girl desperatly needs this 30 days to come up with rental arrears, so if landlord goes forward and obtains a Writ of Possession, which if before this legally allowed 30 days despite DJ opinion, wouldnt that be premature? If this did happen, would an injunction filed with common pleas court to stop this Writ of Possession due to it being premature be the remedy of choice for this girl?
Any and all suggestions would be appreciated here. Thank you.
1 Answer from Attorneys
She should immediately seek legal assistance from an organization that helps people with domestic violence problems. They will be able to help or to refer her to an agency or lawyers who can help.
Trying to navigate the courts and assume any interpretation of deadlines and which court to go to will result in delays that may prejudice her case. She has enough issues to deal with without trying to defend against eviction and protecting herself and her baby.
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