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Clifford L. Tuttle Jr.
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Clifford Tuttle’s Answers

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  • I am landlord. I won at MDJ and Arbitration. They paid $1500 in escrow. Now what? Can they appeal again? How do I get them out?

    How do I get them out of house after winning arbitration? Thank you

    Clifford’s Answer

    The procedure to terminate supersedeas and regain possession is a bit complicated but worth it if you can do it.

    If they miss a payment into escrow, you have to send a ten day notice reminding them to pay. It can be sent by ordinary mail, but you should get a certificate of mailing from the Post Office (PS 3817), which you probably will have to get from the clerk. After the ten days elapse without a payment, you file a praecipe to terminate supersedeas with the Department of Court Records. You attach a copy of your notice and the certificate of mailing to the praecipe. The floor man (or woman) at the desk near the entrance will scrutinize your paperwork and approve it and will prepare the certificate of termination. Then you file the praecipe with the cashier and pay the filing fee.

    After that, you can take the certificate back to the magistrate and fill out an application for a writ of possession. The constable will serve it and schedule a lock out.

    The big advantage of this procedure, as opposed to going through the sheriff at the end of the case is that it is much quicker and cheaper. The sheriff makes you hire a van and movers as well as a storage facility. The constable simply keeps the peace while you change the locks. After the lock out, you make arrangements for the former tenant to move out at your convenience. You may wish to hire a lawyer to help you if you are doing this for the first time.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • They locked up our house and removed the contents,we never received a letter saying when we had to be out by. Is this legal.

    we had most of our things out,and they took everything that was outside-basketball hoop,outdoor furniture,ect.

    Clifford’s Answer

    This is called a self-help eviction. It ignores the Landlord and Tenant Act. Your damages would be the value of all of the property they took. And you might be able to get punitive damages if the case reaches a judge.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • Can i be evicted?

    I just moved into my apartment 31 days ago. I haven't signed a lease yet and i pay rent through a lawyers office because she just bought these apartments. My rent is due on the 25th and she was texting me telling me rent was due. I payed it 24 hou...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You don't have a written lease, so you are presumably renting from month to month. That means that she could evict you at the end of the month. You need to meet with her and work out your differences.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • HELP: Buying a house with a prior lien on it. Title company is willing to insure the title, but mortgage is uncomfortable.

    What do we need to make sure is in the contract to protect us even if they end up settling. We want no responsibility for the lien.

    Clifford’s Answer

    You need a real estate lawyer to look at the exact circumstances. From what you say, it sounds as though the lien has expired. If the title company will insure the property without an exception, you and the lender are probably protected. Get an experienced real estate lawyer in Philadelphia. Do it immediately.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • How do you evict squatters in a commercial property that you just purchased

    Squatters have no lease, I am the new owner,

    Clifford’s Answer

    You file an action in ejectment in common pleas court. You are going to need a lawyer. He or she will prepare a complaint and arrange to have it served through the sheriff. Hopefully, you will get no answer and can take default judgment. If they don't leave voluntarily, your lawyer will have the sheriff serve a writ of possession and schedule an eviction.

    Do not try to do this without a lawyer. You may be surprised to find out that your "squatters" assert some kind of defense. If so, you need to be able to deal with the situation immediately.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • Am I responsible for damages without a written lease?

    On the day of move-in I payed first months rent and security. On the day of move out, the landlord inspected the room and said there were no damages and from there we agreed that my last months rent was to be payed with the security deposit, so I...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Yes, you would have been responsible under your oral lease because you gave a security deposit. However, the two of you agreed there were no damages and you applied the deposit to the last month's rent. It would have been nice to get that in writing, however. Send an email to your ex-landlord confirming that he inspected, found no damages and that the two of you agreed to apply the deposit to the last month's rent. Get in the habit of documenting landlord tenant matters in writing. That should include a written lease, signed by both parties. Keep a signed original.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • Neighboring foreclosures have me upside down in value but I still pay tax on the full amount. What can I do?

    I paid $565,000 for my home in 2007. This year two houses next to me foreclosed for $325,000 reducing the value of my home. I still pay taxes on the full amount to boot. What are my options for getting my head above water? Our income has gone dow...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Check on assessment appeal deadline immediately. You may want to find a lawyer who knows the subject, since there is a fair amount of money involved. You are on the right track. However, the assessors usually cull out the sheriff sale properties. The problem is, of course, that the the sheriff sales can influence market values. A study of sales of comparable properties can determine the answer.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • I'm renting a room for $135.00 a week (me & my two young children. I'm a single parent who is trying 2 keep her children safe

    I moved in this room 3 months ago, everything was fine til last month. My celing is about 2 cave in (drips water up & down the ceiling. He wants rent but don't fix the problem. Please help me & my children. We have nowhere else 2 go.I've called an...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Under the law you must give him written notice and set a reasonable date for the repair. State that the ceil\ing leak is making the one room apartment uninhabitable. Also state that you are witholding rent until the leak is fixed. If he sues you for rent, you must be prepared to prove that you gave the written notice and that he did not make the repair. Can you get a witness? Can you take pictures? Of course you must have a copy of the notice to present at trial.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • I'm worried

    I live in pa and well recently my landlord took me to court because I owed him rent now I just got the papers last week about the amount I owe. I haven't called to talked him yet I'm afraid he will go and put a lean on my sisters house because she...

    Clifford’s Answer

    If the complaint names only you, an award against you will not create a lien against your sister. However, you must work up a plan to get current and talk to your landlord about it. If necessary, ask your sister to help.
    You must protect yourself from being evicted and in the long run, getting current on the rent is the way to do it. Otherwise, you must look for a place to move.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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  • Can I get my money back if the house I rented is not in move in conditions?

    New rental house in Pa, In lease stated "professional cleaning broom cleaning of the whole house " We the renters inspected the house and professional cleaning was not done. The house is not in conditions to move in. It's a health risk to my kids...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You can file a complaint, with the magistrate but expect the landlord to claim that you breached the lease. Your evidence should be in order. I recommend you find an attorney. You are actually seeking more than your deposit and paid rent back, you are seeking to terminate the lease due to landlord default. You must meet your burden of proof or you will be on the hook for possibly all the ren for a year under the lease.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question