Last year, Philadelphia witnessed three shootings during evictions carried out by landlord-tenant officers, leading to significant public outcry and legal action. Angel Davis, one of the shooting victims, has filed a lawsuit after being shot in the head by a private security contractor during an eviction.

In response to these incidents, the City Council unanimously passed reforms to the privatized eviction system. The new legislation requires private security contractors to undergo extensive training, obtain liability insurance, and secure a city license. Additionally, licensed eviction officers must complete annual retraining, and those involved in use-of-force incidents or owing city taxes are barred from obtaining a license.

While housing advocates and some officials praised the reforms for increasing transparency and accountability, there were notable critics. Greg Wertman, president of Hapco Philadelphia, expressed concerns that the bill would exacerbate delays in an already lengthy eviction process, disproportionately affecting small landlords who suffer financially from prolonged disputes. Wertman emphasized that the new regulations could make it even harder for landlords to manage eviction cases efficiently, highlighting the challenges small property owners face compared to larger landlords with extensive resources.

The reforms, despite the administration’s reservations about enforcement capabilities, signify a move towards greater oversight of eviction practices in Philadelphia. However, the final decision on the legislation awaits the mayor’s approval by September 5.

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