Housing Courts

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    Special courts that are available in some states to resolve landlord tenant disputes including eviction (unlawful detainer) actions; requests for help by tenants to force the building owner or landlord to make repairs, correct building violations or protect tenant privacy; rent escrow actions by tenants who deposit rent with the court to bring a claim against a landlord who refuses to make repairs or comply with terms of a lease; counterclaims for rent escrow actions; requests by tenants for assistance when a building owner refuses to provide heat, electricity, water or other essential services; and requests from tenants for help in situations where they have been locked out of their homes. Landlord/tenant mediation services are available through some courts. In some jurisdictions, housing courts also hear actions that relate broadly to residential housing such as those involving zoning or general nuisance problems that may affect homeowners within a neighborhood.

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    Service NameDescriptionLocationProgramAgency
    Berks County Magisterial District JudgesIt is the mission of the Berks County Magisterial District Judge System to seek justice, to foster public trust and confidence in an independent judiciary, and to provide high quality courteous service to all users of the magisterial district courts by processing cases and resolving disputes in a manner that reflects the system's commitment to open access to the courts, fairness, impartiality, administrative efficiency, fiscal responsibility and public accountability. The seventeen magisterial district judges and two centralized magisterial district courts in Berks County are under the supervision and administrative control of the President Judge. Each magisterial district judge is elected to serve within his/her magisterial district for a six-year term. The Berks County Central Arraignment Court and Reading Central Court are the two centralized courts established within the minor judiciary system. The Berks County Central Arraignment Court, located on the 1st floor of the Berks County Courthouse, serves as an after-hours emergency duty court insuring the continual availability of at least one issuing authority in the Twenty-third Judicial District. The Reading Central Court, also located on the 1st floor of the Berks County Courthouse, was established to efficiently dispose of preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony cases filed in any of the five magisterial districts within the City of Reading. Magisterial district judges are included in Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System. Magisterial district judges have jurisdiction over civil claims where the disputed amount is less than $12,000.00, landlord/tenant disputes, summary offenses (traffic and non-traffic offenses), and hold preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony cases. They grant emergency relief under the Protection From Abuse Act and the Older Adult Protective Service Act. Additionally, magisterial district judges issue arrest warrants, conduct preliminary arraignments, set and accept bail, issue search warrants, and perform marriage ceremonies. Magisterial district courts are connected to the statewide-automated Magisterial District Judge System, which came online in 1992. This records management system assists the courts in case processing and financial accounting. Special Courts Administration provides administrative support to the magisterial district judges by preparing the Magisterial District Judge System's operating budget, administering facility and equipment needs, assisting in personnel management, providing staff training and professional development, and assisting with case management. Click here for a list of Magisterial District Judges BerksCourthouseCounty of Berks
    Lancaster County Magisterial District JudgesHandle all traffic cases, other minor criminal cases and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000. Also set bail and conduct preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases to determine if the cases should be dismissed or transferred to the Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings. Click here for a list of Magisterial District Judges LancasterLancaster County Magisterial District CourtCounty of Lancaster

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