I was served an Ejectment Complaint. What do I do?

Ejectment hearings are held at City Hall. This court process functions to remove occupants from a property, however it is different than the eviction process.

What is a Complaint in Ejectment?

Ejectment is the court process where a property owner removes an occupant from their property who they have not given permission to move in. It is sometimes used by banks that purchase a property at foreclosure or by an owner who wants to remove a ‘squatter’ from the property. It is also sometimes wrongfully used by landlords to remove tenants as an alternative to the Philadelphia Municipal Court eviction process.

Am I a tenant or a “squatter”?

A landlord tenant relationship is established when the occupant and the owner have an agreement that the occupant will reside at their property in exchange for payment. Generally, you are legally a tenant if you have keys (access) and paid the owner rent to stay at any point in time (contract). This definition applies:

How can I prove that I am a tenant?

Gather documentation between you and the property owner or property manager. If there was a recent transfer of ownership, you can use documents from the former owner or property manager:

What does the Ejectment Process look like?

  1. Owner files a Complaint in Ejectment in the Court of Common Pleas.
  2. Occupant may file Answer to Complaint in Ejectment and a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. If the Occupant is not listed as a defendant, they may need to file a Motion to Intervene first.
  3. Court schedules and holds a Case Management Conference. The purpose of the Case Management Conference is to get all parties on the same page about how the case will proceed and ensure that everyone has met the court’s deadlines. This is not a Trial.
  4. Court schedules a Trial date.
  5. Court holds Trial and issues a Finding.
  6. Owner requests a Judgment and a Writ of Possession.
  7. Court grants Writ of Possession.
  8. Sheriff serves Writ of Possession on Occupant.
  9. Sheriff ejects Occupant from the property.

I received a Complaint in Ejectment. What do I do?

  1. Be sure to file on time.
    • You have 20 calendar days to file an Answer from the date you were served the Complaint in Ejectment.
    • If you do not file an Answer in 20 calendar days, the Owner may send you a 10-day notice.
    • If you do not file an Answer after 10 additional days, then the Owner may proceed with Step 6 above.
    • Note: If you are not a named Defendant on the Complaint, then you may also have to file a Motion to Intervene.
  2. File the Answer and IFP.
    • In Person
    • Online
      • Create a username at
      • Follow the prompts to file the Answer and IFP.
      • You can sign documents you are uploading by typing /s/ and your name.
      • You can email for help filing online.
    • Phone
      • Call 215-686-6652 or 215-686-6653 to schedule an appointment to file in person at City Hall Room 296 or get assistance filing online.
  3. Serve the court papers.
    • You must serve the Owner by certified mail.
      • Send the stamped court papers and IFP to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested (approximately $8). Fill out the Certificate of Service included with the packet and file the Certificate at City Hall Room 296 or online.

Where can I get help filing an Answer?


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