Philadelphia Landlords Cannot Sue Without Rental License
Written by: Alan Nochumson
A landlord in Philadelphia has two venues to sue his tenant – Philadelphia Municipal Court or the Court of Common Pleas. The choice between the two is a no brainer. The legal process is more straightforward, less expensive and quicker in the Philadelphia Municipal Court.
Rather than waiting for more than a “year” in the Court of Common Pleas, a hearing in the Philadelphia Municipal Court is scheduled within a “month” from the day the complaint is filed. Even better, if the tenant loses at the Philadelphia Municipal Court-level and elects to appeal that decision and stay in the property while the appeal is pending, he will be obligated to place his rental payments during the appeal into an escrow account administered by the judicial system. As such, when the landlord wins on appeal, he will have all of his money waiting for him.
The only problem with the Philadelphia Municipal Court is that the landlord must possess a license from the City government to rent the property. Without that license, the Philadelphia Municipal Court will not hear the landlord-tenant dispute and the landlord will thus be forced to sue the tenant at the Court of Common Pleas-level.
Nowadays, you can renew your rental license online or retrieve a rental license application at www.phila.gov or the Concourse Level of the Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102.