Program Helps Tenants and Landlords with Payment Arrangements During COVID-19 Pandemic
PHILADELPHIA – Today the City of Philadelphia launched its Eviction Diversion Program. The Eviction Diversion Program enables landlords and tenants to arrive at an agreement that works for both parties, without having to go to Court. This program is required for all landlords with tenants who have had difficulty paying rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship.
Benefits of diversion and mediation include helping tenants avoid an eviction, while also helping landlords avoid vacancies and unit turnover costs.
“COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges for many Philadelphians,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Our goal is to keep residents in their homes, and this program provides an opportunity for landlords and tenants to come to an agreement that works for both parties. At the same time, what’s most needed is a reinstatement of the eviction moratorium that will expire at midnight tonight.”
“Philadelphia launched two phases of rental assistance this summer”, said Anne Fadullon, Director of Planning and Development. “Although these programs will help thousands of Philadelphians, we don’t have enough funding to meet the overwhelming need. The Eviction Diversion Program gives the opportunity for landlords and tenants whose income was affected by COVID-19 to work together. This is extremely important as we head into the fall and winter seasons.”
The Eviction Diversion Program implements the Emergency Housing Protection Act (EPHA) passed by City Council and signed by Mayor Kenney. The act requires Landlords to notify tenants of their rights under the EHPA and to request a mediation conference through the Eviction Diversion Program prior to filing an eviction. Joining the City in implementing the program are Philadelphia Legal Assistance, Community Legal Services, Good Shepherd Mediation Program and city-funded housing counseling agencies.
To schedule a mediation, landlords must first submit a request through the web portal. Once it is confirmed that the request is complete, the landlord and tenant will be scheduled for a mediation conference within 30 days. Qualified tenants and landlords can still apply for rental assistance until September 30.