Defenses to Nonpayment
Your landlord is trying to evict you because you owe past due rent, utility bills or other charges.
- Rent Receipts: Bring all your receipts or proof of payment to court for the whole time you lived in the property.
- Repairs: If you withheld rent or did repair & deduct because of repairs issues, you should bring:
- Current bank statements or money orders showing rent you withheld.
- Printed, dated photos.
- Documented L&I violations.
- Texts, emails or letters to landlord requesting repairs.
- Receipts for any repairs you made.
- Housing Inspection License: Your landlord needs a license to charge you rent. To get your landlord’s license history, go to L&I at the Municipal Services Building at 1401 JFK Blvd or search for information about your rental property online. Also, review the Housing Inspection License law.
- Certificate of Rental Suitability: If you moved in after October 2011 your landlord needs to give you a Certificate of Rental Suitability and the Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing Brochure to charge you rent or evict you. Review the Certificate of Rental Suitability law.
- Lead Free or Lead Safe Certification: If you moved in after December 2012 your landlord needs to provide you a Lead Free or Lead Safe Certification to charge you rent. Review more information about lead paint in Philadelphia and the Lead Certification Law.
- Lead Poisoning Violation: If the Health Department cites your property for a lead poisoning violation, your landlord cannot charge rent or evict you until the cause of the lead poisoning is remediated. Review more information about lead paint in Philadelphia and the Lead Poisoning Law.
- Excess Security Deposit: After the first year of a lease, you can ask for a rent credit for any security deposit paid over one month’s rent. Review the Landlord Tenant Act of 1951 Excess Security Deposit law.
- Utilities: Check your lease and see if the utility was your responsibility. Bring any bills or letters from the utility company showing what you paid.
- Attorney Fees: You do not owe for attorney fees unless it says so in your lease and you were wrong in some way.
- Damages: You are responsible for damages you caused, not ordinary wear and tear.
Defenses to Termination of Term
Your landlord is trying to evict you because your lease term is over.
- Term not over: Check your lease to see if the lease term is actually over.
- Certificate of Rental Suitability: If you moved in after October 2011 your landlord needs to give you a Certificate of Rental Suitability and the Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing Brochure to charge you rent or evict you.
- Code Violations: Your landlord cannot evict you if there are open L&I or lead poisoning violations, and you are current on rent or rent escrow. Review Unfair Rental Practices.
- Good Cause Protections: For leases less than one year, such as a month-to-month lease, your landlord must give you thirty (30) days written notice stating a Good Cause reason to end your lease.
- Good Cause Protections in Subsidized Housing: If you live in Public Housing, HUD project-based housing or Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing, you cannot be evicted for termination of term. Review Subsidized Housing for more information.
Defenses to Breach of Lease
Your landlord is trying to evict you because you did not follow the terms of the lease.
- Your landlord must prove that you breached the lease using documentation or witnesses.
- You can bring documentation and witnesses with you to court to show that you did not breach your lease.
- If you breached a condition of your lease because of a disability, you may be able to request a reasonable accommodation such as time or additional services to come into compliance with your lease agreement. Review Can I get a Reasonable Accommodation for more information.