What is the Fair Housing Commission?
The Fair Housing Commission is a city agency empowered to enforce the Philadelphia Fair Housing Ordinance. The Commission hears complaints against landlords who engage in unfair rental practices.
What are some examples of Unfair Rental Practices?
- Entering into a lease, changing a lease or terminating a lease on a property where there are open code violations.
- Retaliating against a tenant for reporting code violations or exercising their legal rights.
- Unlawfully keeping the security deposit.
- Refusing to allow a survivor of domestic violence terminate or bifurcate a lease without penalty.
- Increasing rent without written notice.
- Terminating a lease without written notice.
- Terminating a month-to-month lease without good cause.
- Illegally evicting a tenant.
- Additional unfair rental practices outlined in the Philadelphia Fair Housing Ordinance.
When can I file a complaint?
- You can file a complaint whenever the landlord has engaged in an unfair rental practice.
- If your landlord already filed an eviction complaint against you in Municipal Court, then you cannot file a complaint with the Fair Housing Commission. However, you can raise unfair rental practices as a defense in Municipal Court.
Where Should I Go to File a Complaint?
- Email a completed intake questionnaire to email@example.com
- Go to www.phila.gov/fairhousingcommission for more information.
- If you’d like to speak with someone at the Fair Housing Commission, call 215-686-4670 and leave your name and phone number.
What documentation could I gather for a Fair Housing Commission hearing?
- Proof that you set aside (escrowed) your rent, if you did not pay rent.
- Your lease agreement
- Any written communication with the landlord including letters, emails or text messages.
- Lease Termination Notice or Notice to Quit
- Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I) code violation, inspection report or service file number.
- Photos of code violations or unfair rental practice.
What can the Fair Housing Commission order?
The Fair Housing Commission has the power to:
- Order that an eviction notice or rent increase notice is invalid.
- Order no retaliation or change of lease terms for up to one year.
- Order an abatement of rent (reduction of rent owed) for a period of non-compliance with license or repair issues.
- Order a landlord to restore access or habitability after an illegal eviction.
- Fine a landlord up to $2000 for each unfair rental practice payable to the City of Philadelphia.