Eviction Diversion Program: Direct Negotiation Pathway

Landlord applications are assigned pathways depending on the amount of back rent and other factors. A tenant may be assigned a housing counselor, mediation session or additional resources. If you arrived here through an automated notice, your landlord has applied to participate in the Eviction Diversion Program. The application was approved and assigned a pathway for direct negotiation.

How do I prepare for a direct negotiation?

You have 30 days to try to reach an agreement with your landlord before your landlord can file an eviction case in court. Use this opportunity to find out if a realistic agreement is possible. 

1. Gather Information

2. Get organized

What type of agreement can I make with the landlord?

Payment plan. 

A payment plan includes regular rent plus an additional amount.  For monthly rental agreements, this may mean regular rent by the fifth (5th) of the month and a repayment amount by the twentieth (20th) of the month. 

Exit agreement. 

You may decide you do not want to stay or you cannot afford to stay in your home.  Start looking for places to move to or make plans to stay with a friend, family member or in a shelter while you find a permanent place to move to.  Discuss with your family a move-out timeline.  The landlord will want to know a date you can realistically move out.  From that date, you can negotiate other terms like whether you will pay ongoing rent and back rent.  You may discuss your security deposit which may include an additional “last month” rent.

Send a proposal to your landlord with your goals and terms you believe are fair.  The goal of negotiations is to find out if there is something both tenant and landlord can agree on.

How do I negotiate with the landlord?

Set up a time to talk with your landlord.  You may meet in person or talk over the phone.

Start the conversation by focusing on what you can both agree on.  Talk about what benefits both you and the landlord.  A realistic agreement will avoid the costs and burdens of a the eviction process in court. 

Explain the hardship.  Ask for any flexibility from your landlord given your circumstances including recent challenges.  We have all faced difficulties due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and your landlord may relate.

After you finish the conversation, follow up with a written summary.  Make sure your landlord confirms the agreement with you in writing.  Review these tips and an sample agreement.  Follow up as needed to maintain the agreement.  If you do not keep the agreement, your landlord can file an eviction case against you in court.

I couldn’t come to an agreement with my landlord. What now?

After your negotiation session, you may not reach an agreement.  You may disagree about rent owed, repairs or other obligations.  However, you may continue to discuss the issues and try to reach an agreement.

If a landlord wants to evict, the landlord must go through a legal process in court.  Your landlord may seek a legal eviction 30 days after their application for the Eviction Diversion Program. 

You must attend the hearing on time even if you are still negotiating with your landlord outside of court.  If you do not attend court, your landlord may move forward with a legal eviction.

Reach out for legal help to the Philly Tenant Hotline for legal information and advice at 267-443-2500.


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