I was rejected by a landlord. What do I do now?
Tenants in Philadelphia have a right to universal screening criteria before they apply, a written explanation for any rejections they receive, and reconsideration if they are rejected.
- Immediately request reconsideration.
- Carefully read the notice of rejection.
- If the landlord did not send an explanation, you may ask why your application was rejected.
- Look out for prohibited screening criteria like a policy of never renting to people with an eviction record or a credit score below a certain number.
- Within seven days of getting the notice of rejection, give the landlord additional documentation. This may include:
- Proof that you can afford the rent (pay stubs, a voucher, etc.)
- Letters of recommendation
- Explanations or proof of why problems that happened in the past will not come up again
- If your landlord’s reason for rejecting you was not listed in the screening criteria or is prohibited, highlight the law that prohibits it
I found a place to rent. What happens now?
- Before you apply, the landlord must give you a list of written screening criteria explaining what information they use to approve or deny applications. The list must be the same for all applicants.
- After you apply, the landlord must review your rental application and cannot automatically deny you because of your credit score or eviction record.
- If you have an eviction record, the landlord cannot deny your application due to the eviction, if:
- The case was withdrawn, dismissed or you won the case.
- The case resulted in a judgment that has been satisfied or vacated.
- The case resulted in a judgment by agreement that is current or has been satisfied or vacated.
- The case filing or resulting judgment is more than 4 years old.
- The case was filed March 2020 through September 2021 (COVID-19 Emergency Period), unless the landlord claimed violent or criminal activity.
The landlord still denied my application. What can I do?
- If the landlord did not give you written screening criteria or a written denial, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations may investigate the landlord for fair housing violations.
- If the landlord violated any part of this ordinance, you may file a lawsuit against the landlord in court for up to $2000 per violation. See our article about how to sue a landlord.