I missed my court date. How do I file a Petition to Open?

If you missed court or were late to court, the court enters a Default Judgment against you. This means you automatically lost your case and could be evicted within 21 days. To request a new hearing, you must file a Petition to Open.

1. Go to Municipal Court at 1339 Chestnut St, 10th Fl.

2. Ask to file a Petition to Open.

In the petition you must state:

3. Attach to your petition any proof that you have. 

Be sure to white out any confidential information.

4. Ask to file an IFP.

IFP stands for In Forma Pauperis. If the IFP is granted, you will not have to pay filing fees. Fill out the IFP Form and provide it to the Municipal Court clerks.

5. Choose type of service.

Choose one way to serve your landlord:

  1. Private Server Have someone over 21 who is not a family member deliver the stamped court papers to the landlord and then fill out an Affidavit of Service. The court can give you the Affidavit. File the completed Affidavit in City Hall Room 296 or online.
  2. Paid Service Have Municipal Court can send a professional to serve the court papers. This will cost about $25. Go to Municipal Court 1339 Chestnut street, 10th Floor to request paid service.

6. Contact the court the next day.

Call 215-686-7989. If your request for a petition hearing is granted, you will have to return to 1339 Chestnut St, 10th floor to schedule the hearing promptly, otherwise your petition will be voided. You will have to pay a service fee unless you chose private service.

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