Reminder to Landlords Filing for Eviction
If a landlord is filing for eviction in Philadelphia, he must ensure he follows the rules for eviction specifically else the only thing that will be evicted will be the landlord from the courtroom with an unsuccessful lawsuit.
At the time a leasehold is rented to a tenant, all Philadelphia landlords must secure a landlord license, a business license, and a Certificate of Rental Suitability. In addition, if a landlord is renting to tenants which include children 6 years old or younger, he must:
- certify the property is lead safe or lead free;
- provide the tenant with a copy of a lead safe or lead free certificate, along with other required information;
- provide the Department of Public Health with a copy of the lead safe or lead free certificate, signed by the tenant
Regarding the licenses and certificates, please see the following:
In order to evict a tenant, a landlord must file a complaint for eviction in landlord/tenant court located on the 6th and 10th floors of the Widener Building at 1339 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. A complaint for eviction must comply with the terms of the lease as to what can be requested as damages (e.g.: forsaken rent, late fees, attorney’s fees, and so on) and when the complaint can be filed (e.g.: notice requirements before a court action is started). A complaint for eviction must specifically request “termination of term” as a remedy, otherwise the lease cannot be terminated by the court if the landlord wins the case for money damages for unpaid rent. Furthermore, a landlord must include with his complaint for eviction a copy of his landlord license, business license, Certificate of Rental Suitability, and Lead Paint Certification. If the licenses and certifications are not secured, then the landlord will not be entitled to receive rent for the months without them and if the landlord does not have them at the time of the hearing, he will not have a right to evict. Please note that even if a tenant has paid rent while a landlord is unlicensed and therefore not entitled to receive rent payments from the tenant, the tenant still cannot successfully sue the landlord to have that rent returned or repaid.
So, if you are a landlord and are planning to file for eviction, be certain to ensure you are compliant with all applicable laws and ordinances. Better yet, consult with an attorney before taking any legal action.