Explanation: Philly expands eviction protections

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What happens when I go through the Eviction Diversion Program?

Tenants are assigned a housing counselor to discuss their rights, navigate rent assistance, and discuss repayment agreements. The landlord and tenant will receive automatic SMS and email notifications of the date and time of mediation and the phone number to call. All mediations are done by telephone. If an agreement is reached at the end, it is typed and sent to both parties. If an agreement is not reached, a necessary follow-up mediation can be scheduled. The housing counselor follows up with the tenant 45 days after mediation to see if the agreement is still working.

The federal government continues to extend the moratorium. Is this the last time?

At the federal level, it appears that will be the case. There have been challenges against the CDC order, but the The United States Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday not to lift it since it is due to expire next month, and President Joe Biden has said he has no plans to extend it again. This will probably be the last time there will be national protection.

However, you are not automatically protected under the order, and only in the event of non-payment. Tenants must sign a CDC Deportation Protection Statement and send it to its owner. Tenants’ lawyers advise making a copy and keeping proof that the statement was sent.

If a tenant signs it, they claim the following:

  • They tried to get rent assistance.
  • Their income is $ 99,000 or less ($ 198,000 or less for couples).
  • They cannot pay rent and risk becoming homeless.

Are the courts open now?

The courts are open, hear cases and render judgments. This has been the case for a few months, but the courts no longer automatically accept requests for remote hearings. They prioritize in-person hearings. If you wish to be removed, you must indicate either a disability or some other emergency reason. The courts also lifted their face mask warrant.

Can my landlord charge me late fees?

Yes, but it can be canceled if a tenant advises their landlord that they are in financial difficulty using a CDC or a declaration form. COVID-19 Tenant Financial Hardship Certificate Form. Under the Emergency Housing Protection Act, if a tenant gives them a certificate, the landlord cannot charge late fees from March 2020 to September 2021. Landlords must credit late fees paid during that time. period on the tenant’s rental account.

What are my options for a repayment plan?

Tenants have the right to enter into a binding repayment agreement with their landlords. It allows tenants to repay rent due until December 31, 2020, over a multi-month repayment period ending September 30, 2021. This can be discussed and negotiated through the eviction diversion program mediation.

Things seem to keep changing. Where can I get the most recent information?

The Network of Tenants Union Representatives holds workshops know your rights via Zoom several times a week.

Philly Tenant Rights Hotline can be reached at 267-443-2500. This is a single number for information and referrals to legal services agencies.

Phillyataire.org is maintained by the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project partners who participate in the hotline and is updated frequently.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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