In Pennsylvania, the Landlord Tenant Act controls evictions of tenants for a variety of lease or rental agreement violations, including failure to pay rent. Landlords may not use self-help measures to expedite an eviction, such as changing the locks or removing the tenant’s property. The landlord must follow a Pennsylvania statute for eviction, which starts with the landlord serving a Notice to Quit on the tenant. A Notice to Quit may be used if the tenant has failed to pay the rent according to the terms of the lease; if the tenant has violated another term of the lease, such as keeping a pet; or if the term of the lease has ended. The Notice to Quit must contain the names of the landlord and tenants, the address of the property, the reason for the Notice, and a statement that the landlord may pursue legal action if the Notice to Quit is not followed. If the Notice is for overdue rent, the amount due and terms of payment should also be included. For nonpayment of rent, the tenant is given the option to pay the rent or move out; for other lease or agreement violations, the only option is for the tenant to move out. The law requires that the tenant be given ten days from the service of the Notice to pay the rent or move out. For any other lease or agreement violation, the tenant must have 15 days to move out for leases of one year or less, and 30 days for leases that are more than one year.
In New Jersey, landlords can also evict for failure to pay rent and for other lease violations. Two of the most commonly cited violations in New Jersey, besides nonpayment of rent, are eviction for disorderly conduct and damage to the property. Landlords also may not use self-help to pursue an eviction. Like Pennsylvania, a landlord usually must give notice of an intent to evict the tenant or to pursue legal action. The first Notice for a lease violation is called a Notice to Cease. If the violation continues, in the case of disorderly conduct or damage to the property, the landlord must give the tenant three days’ notice before serving a Notice to Quit and pursuing legal action. In the case of any other violation, the landlord must give the tenant one month’s notice again, in the form of a Notice to Quit, before pursuing legal action. In the case of nonpayment of rent, however, the landlord need not give any notice before pursuing legal action. As soon as the rent is late, the landlord can file a lawsuit. However, New Jersey law also states that if a tenant is habitually late on the rent, then the landlord is required to serve a Notice to Cease, followed by one month’s Notice to Quit before filing a lawsuit.
In Delaware, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the most common reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent, and a landlord must provide notice of an intent to evict the tenant regardless of the reason. For nonpayment, a landlord here has only five days from the service of a Notice before being able to pursue legal action. This notice is referred to as a Five Day Notice to pay rent. This notice should also contain the names of the tenants and the address of the premises, as well as the amount due and the terms of payment. For any other lease violation, a landlord can serve a seven-day Notice to Cure before being permitted to file a lawsuit.