My landlord wants me out. What is the legal eviction process?

Your landlord has to go to court to evict you. Here is the legal process.

Prior to Court

Before filing in court, your landlord must send you a Notice of Diversion Rights and apply for Diversion through the city’s Eviction Diversion Program. If you are a tenant and you received a Notice of Diversion Rights, call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline immediately to connect with the program at 215-334-HOME (4663).  If you are a landlord, you can apply at the Eviction Diversion website.

Step 1: Eviction Notice

You may receive an Eviction Notice (also called a Lease Termination Notice or Notice to Quit) telling you when your landlord wants you to move out. You do not have to move out by that date. Your landlord must take you to court in order to evict you.

Step 2: Court Complaint

If you do not move out, the landlord can file an Eviction Complaint against you in Municipal Court. The Complaint should state the reason your landlord is evicting you and the date/time of the court hearing. The Complaint should be sent to you by mail, attached to your door or hand delivered.

Step 3: Hearing Date

Eviction hearings are in Municipal Court at 1339 Chestnut St, 6th Floor. You must arrive on time to court, or you will likely lose. On the date of your scheduled hearing, you have legal options and may raise legal defenses: request a continuance, have a hearing in front of a judge or come to a written agreement with your landlord, often called a Judgment by Agreement. These types of agreements are binding and cannot be appealed.

Step 4: Appeal (if applicable)

If you lose at the hearing, you will have 10 calendar days to file an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas, City Hall, Room 296. The appeal stops an eviction from taking place until the court rules on the case, as long as you pay ongoing rent to the court.

Step 5. Eviction

If you lose in court and do not appeal, or if you break your agreement, your landlord can move forward with the eviction process. First, your landlord must obtain a number of writs, which can be completed in 21 days. After that, the landlord tenant officer can evict you. However, if you are being evicted for nonpayment of rent only, you can prevent the eviction if you pay the full amount of the judgment plus the writ costs to your landlord before the lockout takes place. Call the Landlord Tenant Office at (215) 563-2133 or email to find out the day and time of the lockout.


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