July 04, 2020
Rental evictions are postponed for another two months in Philadelphia due to surging coronavirus numbers, officials ruled Thursday.
Evictions will be on hold until early September at least, after a decision was passed to keep Philadelphia's courts closed. Landlord-tenant courts were slated to reopen July 6, but now won't reopen until September 2.
Philadelphia's First Judicial District issued an administrative order on the court closures Thursday evening.
Courts will remain closed "in light of the continuing public safety concerns especially in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 infections and limitations in accessing court facilities," the administrative order read.
Officials had already announced a moratorium on evictions through August, but existing cases from before the pandemic could've been heard starting next week.
Courts will remain shutdown for "non-emergency business." An estimated 1,800 renters with existing eviction cases may have been affected by this new postponement, WHYY reported.
Philadelphia city Councilmember Helen Gym, a known housing and renter advocate, celebrated the decision.
"This was an important decision that allows the city to find resources and help for thousands of renters in need," said Gym.
Huge news out of @PhilaCourts. No eviction cases heard until September. This was an important decision that allows the city to find resources and help for thousands of renters in need. @CLSphila @KendraPHL @BobbyHenon pic.twitter.com/aKbYUgiPXm— Helen Gym (@HelenGymPHL) July 2, 2020
Between July 6 and September 30, renters can apply for a new city program that provides financial assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The emergency aid program will give qualified applicants monthly rent payments for up to six months.
The program is funded by the CARES Act. Applications can be found here.
Coronavirus numbers have surged in Philadelphia recently, prompting an extension of social distancing and other measures issued by public health officials.
Philadelphia was slated to enter the green phase July 3, but officials recently postponed reentry until August. There have been an average of 100 to 140 new daily positive coronavirus cases, which is above the needed 80 cases per day benchmark for the green phase.