PHILADELPHIA — Today, Mayor Jim Kenney joined Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and Rue Landau, executive director for the Fair Housing Commission to sign the “Good Cause” bill (No. 170854) into law. The bill amends the City’s Fair Housing Ordinance. For residential leases less than one year, the bill prohibits landlords from evicting tenants unless there is “good cause” to do so. The Good Cause protections will go into effect on April 22, 2019.

Once the Good Cause protections take effect, landlords will only be permitted to terminate leases less than one year for infractions such as:

  • Habitual non-payment or habitual late-payment
  • Breach or non-compliance with a “material term” of the lease
  • Nuisance activity engaged in by the tenant that interferes with others use and enjoyment of the property
  • Substantial damage to the property caused by tenant
  • Tenant refusal to allow landlord in to make repairs
  • Tenant refusal to sign an extension of the lease
  • Landlord’s intention to rent the unit to a member of the owner’s immediate family
  • Tenant refuses to agree to a change in the lease (must provide notice to tenant and opportunity for response)
  • Landlord’s intention to make renovations with an empty unit (must provide notice and options to tenant)

For a landlord to terminate a lease for Good Cause the landlord must provide written notice with the Good Cause reasons for the lease termination. The notice must be provided to the tenant at least 30 days in advance by hand delivery or first class mail to the tenant. If the landlord does not issue a Good Cause lease termination notice as provided by the law, the lease will automatically renew month to month.

“Philadelphia has many low-income renters and this Good Cause bill is about making sure they have the protections they need so that landlords aren’t treating them unfairly,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Housing is a human right, and this bill helps provide individuals and families with the stability they deserve.”

“There are far too many low income people in Philadelphia living in rental units in need of significant repairs,” said Rue Landau, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Commission. “This Good Cause bill strengthens the Fair Housing Ordinance and will keep unscrupulous landlords from committing unfair rental practices and terminating leases simply because tenants request necessary repairs. All tenants have a right to safe housing.”

“One person’s progress is another person’s gentrification,” said Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. “As Philadelphia is recognized by others as a great place to live, “Good Cause” legislation provides safeguards for tenants that are being displaced because of increases in property values in our city.”

Tenants can challenge a landlord’s notice in court or at the Fair Housing Commission. Tenants must notify the landlord and file a complaint within 15 business days of receiving the notice. Tenants can contact the Fair Housing Commission by calling 215-686-4670 or visiting the Fair Housing Commission’s website.