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City of Philadelphia

Good Cause Eviction

The Fair Housing Commission (FHC) is responsible for enforcing the “Good Cause” eviction law. The law amends the City’s Fair Housing Ordinance, § 9-800 of the Philadelphia Code. Implementation of the new law began on April 22, 2019.

The law prevents an owner or landlord from issuing a lease termination or non-renewal notice without first showing a “Good Cause” reason why the lease should be terminated.
The law applies to leases less than one year, including leases that convert to shorter time frames such as month to month.

Examples of Good Cause reasons to terminate a lease:

  • Habitual non-payment or habitual late-payment of rent (this does not apply if the tenant is legally withholding rent).
  • 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.
  • Tenant causes substantial damage to the property.
  • Tenant does not allow landlord access to the property, after the landlord has provided written notice.
  • Tenant refuses to sign an extension of the lease for generally the same lease terms.
  • Owner, or an immediate family member of the owner, is going to move into the unit.
  • Tenant refuses to agree to a reasonable rent increase or a change in the lease (landlord must provide notice to tenant and opportunity for response).
  • Owner wants to make renovations with an empty unit (must provide notice and options to tenant).
A landlord must provide at least 30 days written notice to the tenant with the Good Cause reasons to terminate or not renew the lease. The notice must be sent by hand delivery or first-class mail with proof of mailing. If the landlord does not issue a notice as provided by the law, the lease automatically renews month to month.

Tenants can challenge a landlord’s notice with the Fair Housing Commission or in court. Tenants must file a complaint within 15 business days of receiving the notice and notify the landlord.

For more information, tenants or landlords can contact the Fair Housing Commission by calling 215-686-4670. Find more information on the law here: Fair Housing Ordinance 9-800 & 9-1200.