I received a notice of an eviction hearing...NOW WHAT?
This guide is meant to help Philadelphia tenants who have received an eviction court notice and need to prepare prior to court.
Notice to QuitDoes your lease waive the notice to quit requirement? check your lease carefully - if there is no provision that waives this right the landlord should have given you a 10-day notice to quit in cases where you failed to pay rent PRIOR to filing the eviction complaint. If the landlord filed the complaint before the 10 day notice expired then you may have a valid procedural defense.
Rental LicenseMake sure that the landlord has a valid rental license for the period of time which the landlord is seeking payment of rent.
Rental suitability licenseDid your landlord give you the following documents:
1. signed rental suitability license
2. Partners for good housing pamphlet
If you did not receive BOTH of these items your landlord can not collect rent.
DamagesAre there any damages at the property which have not been repaired?
Have you informed the landlord of the damages?
If so, make sure to bring as much evidence including pictures of the damages and a paper trial (emails, texts etc.) of the notice you gave to the landlord.
Lead paintDo you have a child under 6 years old living with you at the property?
Did your landlord know about the child living with you at the property?
Was the property built prior to 1978?
If you answered yes to all of the above, you should have received a lead-paint certificate prior to moving in which certifies that the property is lead-free - otherwise the landlord can not collect rent.
NegotiateMany landlords want their property back. If you can strike a deal an vacate within 20-30 days and forfeit your security deposit most landlords will waive the money judgment so it wont effect your credit report.