Evictions and ejectments are two different legal procedures that are applied in different situations

9/28/20222 min read


Evictions and ejectments are two different legal procedures that are applied in different situations. Both procedures aim to legally evict tenants from a building. Each sort of legal action has a particular court where the trials are held. While ejectment matters are typically heard in circuit courts, eviction proceedings are heard in landlord-tenant courts.


As mentioned above, this is the basic landlord-tenant case that most of us are familiar with. The plaintiff is an individual landlord, management company, or corporate owner. The defendant in a residential case is an individual or group of individuals or, in a commercial case, anything from a sole proprietor to a larger corporate entity. But once in a while, a property owner is not a landlord as defined under the law, and the person in the property is not a tenant.

When requesting an eviction due to a breach of the lease, the sale of the property, or the conversion to condominiums, the notification requirements must be scrupulously followed. A complaint may be lodged in the Special Civil Part Landlord Tenant Section if a landlord satisfies the notice requirements. In landlord-tenant court, both the landlord and the tenant make their respective arguments. Depending on the Court's ruling, the tenant will either lose ownership of the apartment or there won't be a reason to evict them. The matter is given to the constable for the tenant's eviction if the court deems sufficient justification to allow the landlord possession. Ten days after the Court issues its judgment of possession is the earliest that a warrant can be issued. Once for the notification of lockout and again three days later for the actual lockout, the constable must return twice.

In order to proceed in landlord-tenant court, there must be a landlord-tenant relationship between the parties. In most cases, this relationship is memorialized by a written lease. But what if there’s no written lease? The parties still may be landlord and tenant. For example, in a situation with no written lease, look to see if periodic rent has been agreed upon and paid. How much is the rent? Is it payable monthly, weekly, yearly, or at some other regular interval? Has the tenant ever paid it? Are there other indicia of a landlord-tenant relationship? If rent has not been reserved and paid, or if the parties cannot agree on this basic fact, it’s possible the parties are not landlord and tenant, and therefore the case cannot be heard in landlord-tenant court. What then?


An owner who wishes to evict an occupant must bring an action in ejectment if the parties do not have the landlord-tenant relationship as previously stated. The correct procedure to get rid of someone who is in possession of real estate but isn't a tenant is called ejectment, as in the case of a temporary resident who has never paid rent but won't leave. In order to succeed, the defendant must be able to prove an ownership interest in the property, a binding contract with the owner, or some other ongoing right of possession. It is difficult to defend against a well-pleaded charge in ejectment.

The disadvantage for an ejectment plaintiff is that the case is heard in the ordinary trial court, which is either the Superior Court, Law Division in New Jersey or Pennsylvania's Court of Common Pleas. Contrary to filing in the user-friendly landlord-tenant courts, this takes more time and effort and frequently calls for the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact



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