Passage of the recent controversial COVID housing laws in the City of Philadelphia has created a new layer of tenant mediation requirements for rental property owners.  Hapco Philadelphia is offering a new legal service to simplify the process.

Baritz Law will provide a discounted rate for the new City of Philadelphia Municipal Court-required “Pre-Step” Mandatory Mediation for $250.00 (detailed below)

The Federal CARES Act, along with newly enacted Philadelphia COVID housing law, and Governor Wolf’s executive order suspending evictions through at least August 31, 2020, has further complicated the process for filing evictions.  Landlords and tenants now must FIRST enter into Mandatory Mediation Process (Referred to here as a, “Pre-Step” to the normal steps/stages of the eviction process).  

Hapco Philadelphia to process your Pre-Step for you!  The office simply needs full documentation and payment of $250.00 prior to sending it to the Baritz Law office.  The documents and information needed shall be provided shortly: 

Baritz Law will prepare and send the required legal notice to the tenant, specifying exactly what information must be provided under the law for a tenant to qualify for Covid-related hardship relief; 

  • If the tenant responds, and the hardship claim is justified, the landlord and tenant may try to resolve the unpaid rent with a repayment plan outside of court. In some cases, the tenant may be entitled to a nine (9) month Repayment Plan, without interest or penalty. 
  1. If the tenant honors the terms of the Agreement, the case is not filed in court and the matter is closed.  
  2. If the tenant does not honor the terms of the Agreement, the case will be potentially sent to a new “Diversion Program”, for which the steps have not yet been established by the court.  It is thought to be another way to have an Agreement without having the case proceed directly into court.  
    • If the tenant honors that secondary agreement, no case will be filed in court.  
    • However, if the tenant fails to honor that Agreement, too, or if no Agreement can be reached through the Diversion Program, or if the tenant fails to provide the necessary Covid-related hardship documentation, the landlord may file in court, following the long-established procedure (*)

(*) Subject to the time restraints as established by law or any executive moratorium signed by the Governor of the State of PA.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If a new case is based solely on a breach of terms and conditions of the lease for any reason other than for non-payment or termination, the landlord may, in fact, be able to file in court much sooner.  Consult Baritz Law for details.