Philadelphia tenants can’t be kicked out of their homes for the next two weeks, according to the president judge of Municipal Court.
Residential evictions are banned until Sept. 23, according to an order Judge Patrick F. Dugan issued Wednesday. The order also limits the number of eviction notices the city’s landlord-tenant officer can serve until Sept. 21. While officers are serving those notices that an eviction is coming, they must also serve notices explaining the new nationwide moratorium on many evictions for nonpayment of rent, and give tenants the form they must fill out in order to be protected under the federal ban.
Housing advocates had been asking for more time to allow renters facing eviction to meet the requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide moratorium. That ban took effect Friday, four days after Pennsylvania’s statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium ended.
The city’s landlord-tenant court reopened last week to hear rescheduled cases.
City Councilmember Helen Gym announced Wednesday that she would introduce a bill on Thursday to extend the city’s eviction moratorium through Dec. 31, which is when the federal moratorium ends. Gym said a city moratorium would protect tenants who are unaware of the CDC requirements. Councilmembers Jamie Gauthier and Kendra Brooks also will introduce legislation to extend tenant protections in the Emergency Housing Protection Act based on a moratorium extension.
“In Philadelphia, we have made progress in launching new programs and solutions, but restarting an eviction process that kicks thousands of families out of their homes right now does not make sense,” Gym said in a statement. “This is about the public health and public safety of the city.”
She called on the state and federal governments to expand housing subsidies to ensure landlords get paid and people can stay in their homes.
The federal eviction moratorium is more restricted than Pennsylvania’s expired eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Tenants must meet income requirements, face income loss or high medical bills, have tried to get rental assistance from the government, have tried to pay as much rent as they can afford, swear they would end up homeless or in cramped living conditions if evicted, and complete the form to give to their landlord.