How to Evict Squatters in Pennsylvania

How to Evict Squatters in Pennsylvania

Dealing with squatters can be a challenging and frustrating situation for property owners in Pennsylvania. Squatting refers to the act of occupying a property without the owner’s permission or legal right. Whether you are a homeowner or a landlord, it is essential to understand your rights and the proper legal process to evict squatters. This article will guide you through the steps to follow in order to evict squatters in Pennsylvania.

1. Determine if the occupants are squatters: Before taking any action, it is crucial to establish whether the individuals occupying your property are indeed squatters. Squatters are individuals who do not have permission to be on the property and do not have a legal right to be there.

2. Consult an attorney: It is highly recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law or real estate law in Pennsylvania. They will provide you with guidance specific to your situation and help you navigate the legal process.

3. File an eviction lawsuit: To legally remove squatters, you must file an eviction lawsuit, also known as an “ejectment” action, in the appropriate Pennsylvania court. This lawsuit is necessary to regain possession of your property and have the squatters removed.

4. Serve an eviction notice: Once you have filed the lawsuit, you need to serve an eviction notice to the squatters. In Pennsylvania, this notice must state the reason for eviction, the date by which the squatters must vacate the premises, and the consequences of non-compliance.

5. Attend a court hearing: After serving the eviction notice, the court will schedule a hearing. Both parties must attend the hearing, where evidence will be presented. If the court rules in your favor, a judgment for possession will be issued.

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6. Obtain a writ of possession: Once you have obtained a judgment for possession, you need to file a request for a writ of possession. This document authorizes the sheriff to physically remove the squatters from your property.

7. Coordinate with law enforcement: Once the writ of possession is granted, you must coordinate with the sheriff’s office to schedule a date and time for the removal of the squatters. The sheriff’s office will carry out the physical eviction.


1. Can I evict squatters without going through the legal process?
No, it is illegal to forcibly remove squatters without following the proper legal process. Attempting to do so may result in legal consequences for the property owner.

2. How long does the eviction process take?
The eviction process can vary depending on the specific circumstances and court availability. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

3. What if the squatters claim they have rights?
If the squatters claim to have rights to the property, it becomes a more complex legal matter. Consult with an attorney to discuss your options and determine the validity of their claims.

4. Can I change the locks to prevent squatters from entering?
Changing the locks without following the proper legal process can be considered an illegal eviction. It is essential to go through the court system to evict squatters lawfully.

5. Can I use force to remove squatters?
Using force or engaging in any form of physical confrontation to remove squatters is illegal and can lead to criminal charges against the property owner.

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6. Can I sue squatters for damages?
Yes, if squatters have caused damage to your property, you can pursue a separate lawsuit to recover the cost of repairs and damages.

7. What should I do if I suspect someone is squatting on my property?
If you suspect someone is squatting on your property, document any evidence of their presence, such as photographs or witness statements. Contact an attorney to guide you through the eviction process.

In conclusion, dealing with squatters in Pennsylvania requires following the proper legal process. Consulting with an attorney, filing an eviction lawsuit, and obtaining a court judgment are crucial steps to regain possession of your property. It is important to be patient and work within the bounds of the law to resolve the issue effectively.