In Pennsylvania(Upper Chichester Township), is it legal for a landlord to rent out an apartment above their garage without a certificate of occupancy?

Asked by Simon Moyer, 19014 Thu May 20, 2010

I have lived in my apartment for 5 years, and am appealing a retaliatory eviction, and recently found out through my local township office that my landlord never had a certificate of occpancy for me. My landlords purchased their property in 2004. I was advised by the township office that the only certificate of occupancy filed for a tenant at my address was in 2009, and was filed under the names of the previous owners of the property. I suspect that the landlord is somehow "riding the coattails" of the previous owners, since the previous owners have had nothing to do with the property since 2004.

Also, can a landlord evict a tenant in Pennsylvania if the landlord does not have a certificate of occupancy for the tenant?

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Simon Moyer’s answer
Simon Moyer, Renter, 19014
Thu May 20, 2010
We are not trying to stay in the apartment without paying rent. There are several reasons why we are fighting the eviction, some of which I cannot disclose over the internet for reasons of personal safety (due to potential hate crimes because of our identities). However, one main reason we are fighting the eviction is because we have a great deal of evidence that proves illegal and unethical acts committed by my landlord during my tenancy that we were not allowed to present at our initial hearing due to the Judge stating that he "had a lot of cases to hear" that day and didn't have time to hear our defense. In the process of initiating an investigation by our local township manager, further information has emerged that shows that the landlord only reported my tenancy in 2009, even though I have lived at the residence since 2005.

I am also disabled due to an automobile accident, and entered into a payment arrangement with my landlord in January of 2010, for which I have documentation. This payment arrangement was agreed to after my landlord allegedly left a 10-day notice on my door which I never received.

Basically, the landlord has failed in his duties in almost every facet possible. I suffered a slip and fall injury in the common area of the property in February due to the landlord's failure to remove ice from the common areas, from which I suffered a broken wrist and several fractures to my left thumb. The landlord, on the several occasions he was asked, refused to provide hs homeownr's insurance information. I was later able to find out which company he was using, and was advised by that company, Allstate, that my landlord never had "landlord insurance" on the property, and that the only insurance he has ever carried on the property was general liability.

He has also never done repairs to my apatment, whether requesed by me, or as required from citations he has received from the licensing and inspection department of my township. In addition, due to fraud committed by my landlord, I am currently heating my water with a 5-gallon propane tank, the same as one would use on a gas grill. The landlord has been aware of this for the 2 years this has been the case, and has refused to remedy the situation unless I pay for a brand new electric water heater nd stove. My current propane setup, which I was forcd to provide for myself when my landlord had my 120 gallon propane tank removed by the company both my landlrd and I were getting propane from, is not sufficient to power my stove or oven, which the landlord has also been aware of for 2 years. I filed a complaint with the Attorney General, and have been given the right to sue in that matter.

There are other issues as well, but the situation boils down to the fact that because of my disability, I can aford the rent, but do not have monies to move out, nor am I physically capable of moving at this time. I'm also fighting the eviction because I deserve to have my side of the story heard, which was not allowed in district court. My reason for asking this question here is because I am tring to collect as much evidence and legal information as possible, because the Plaintiffs have hired counsel (after the initial hearing) who is trying at all costs to prevent my appeal from being heard. I have attempted to obtain counsel, but every attorney I have spoken with has basically told me that what I am trying to do cannot be done. My appeal was stricken on a technicality, and I was told by no less than five attorneys that my appeal could not be reinstated for any reason. They were wrong. My partner and I ended up writing both an emergency motion to stay possession of the property, and an emergency petition to reinstate our appeal, which were both granted by a Judge in our local court of common pleas. The plaintiffs counsel is attempting to have our appeal stricken yet again (for failure to comply with pa code rule 1005b,which is erroneous at this time because all parties have been served), and a judge is looking at the docket to determine if the Plaintiff's counsel is legaly accurate in what he is attempting to do, as well as whether he is not only harrassing us, but in contempt of court as well.

On top of everything else, before we had our appeal reinstated and possession orders had been served to us, the dates of possession kept changing, which we later found out was due to the fact that the landlord never paid the fee for the local constable to actually take posession of the property.

This is only a small fraction of the circus that has been going on with this eviction, which is why we are pressing to get our day in court.
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Robert Green…, Agent, Cherry Hill, NJ
Thu May 20, 2010
Most states and townships have some type of CO and Landlord Registration process. In order to be evicted, the landlord must file an action in Landlord/Tenant court. Many courts require proof of Landlord Registration to file the action. Are you trying to stay in the apartment without paying rent? What is the reason for the "attempted" eviction?

Robert Greenblatt
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