Legal Updates

Philadelphia Reviewing Anti-Squatting Bill, 170827

The Philadelphia City Council is debating a new ordinance that may dramatically change the landscape of Philadelphia landlord and tenant law.  Council member David Oh has introduced Bill No. 170827.  Under the Bill, ejectment procedures in Philadelphia would be shortened dramatically.  The Bill proposes using the Philadelphia Police to resolve ejectment actions, rather than the Courts.  Under the Bill, the Philadelphia police would be permitted to remove squatters if the occupant cannot show “credible evidence” why he should not be ejected.  If credible evidence is presented the Courts are tasked with resolving ownership under an “expedited procedure” within one (1) month of filing an ejectment complaint.  Ejectment actions in Philadelphia currently take anywhere from four months to one year or more if contested with credible evidence.  PLEASE NOTE: The proposed ordinance is not passed or enforceable at this time.  Many fierce opponents, including Community Legal Services, argue the ordinance “oversimplifies who is a lawful resident.”

Under the Ordinance, a squatter is: (a) Any person who occupies the real property of another person without right; title, including by twenty-one (21) years of adverse possession of the real property under 42 PA.C.S. §5530; payment of rent; permission of the actual current owner of said real property; or any other interaction with the current real owner of said real property that would indicate a relationship other than that of a trespasser upon said real property; in other words a “squatter,” is creating a condition that could erupt in violence City of Philadelphia…

The passage of 170827 would dramatically shorten and economize ejectment actions.  Opponents of the Bill argue it will hurt the City’s most vulnerable citizens depriving them of due process. For now property owners main recourse is to file an ejectment action.  This may soon change.  If you have a question about a Philadelphia ejectment claim or the state of landlord and tenant law in Pennsylvania, contact the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos for a free thirty minute consultation.