Open Letter in Support of Good Cause Legislation
November 12, 2018
Re: Good Cause Legislation, Bill #170854, As Amended February 13, 2018


Dear Philadelphia City Council Members,

We urge you to vote in favor of adopting Bill #170854, which would amend § 9-804 of the Philadelphia code to include Good Cause Eviction protections for tenants. Landlords regularly force renters to move out of their housing for unjust and discriminatory reasons both during a lease and at the time of renewing a lease. In 2016, Philadelphia had the fourth highest number of evictions for a large city: 22,062 evictions were filed, resulting in 10,264 evictions. That number does not encapsulate the number of people who are forced into crisis through informal evictions or because of a landlord’s refusal to renew a lease. The rate of forced moves in Philadelphia is exceptionally high. 9.3% of renters in the Philadelphia metropolitan area were forced to move from their homes in 2015, the second highest rate of forced moves in the country.

The proposed Good Cause amendment to § 9-804 is an incredibly modest starting place for increasing tenant protections. First, a landlord may not terminate a tenant’s lease without providing a valid reason. The list of reasons a landlord may still terminate a lease is extensive, including if a tenant habitually fails or is late in paying rent, the tenant breaches a material term in the lease, the tenant refuses a rent increase, or a landlord decides to move into the unit or move an immediate family member into the unit. Second, a landlord must provide notice in writing of their “good cause” basis when issuing a notice to vacate or a notice to terminate a lease.

This legislation makes it more difficult to displace tenants for discriminatory and retaliatory reasons. As Community Legal Services attorney Rasheedah Phillips testified, there are “countless stories of tenants who could have benefitted from a just cause eviction protection, stories of tenants who have faced racial, sexuality, gender, family, ethnicity, and disability discrimination from landlords, tenants forced out of their homes due to lack of repairs; stories of tenants intimidated into not complaining about substandard housing conditions that exacerbate health and safety problems.” Landlords should not have City Council’s tacit endorsement in terminating a lease because of who a tenant is or because the tenant has requested needed repairs.

Opponents of Good Cause protections have suggested that this legislation will discourage landowners from entering the rental market, thereby reducing the availability of affordable housing in Philadelphia. First, we reiterate that this bill does not prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant, as long as they can meet any of the eight expansive categories of good cause under the legislation. Second, although detailed data on the impact of Good Cause laws is scarce, where available it indicates that these protections increase neighborhood stability, preserve economic diversity, and improve rental affordability. Legislation like this encourages a healthy, stable housing market where landlords make money through long-term rental agreements as opposed to quick renovations or building flips.

As a City Councilperson, we urge you to work in the interest of all of your constituents. That includes working-class constituents, poor constituents, and tenants who cannot afford the cost of a move for an unjust reason. We urge you to support this Good Cause legislation.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned Members of the Penn Law Community

Madison Gray L'21
Kellen McCoy L'21
Kirsten Valania L'20
Mary Felder L'21
John Santoro L'21
Sabrina Merold L'20
Sam Whillans 'L21
Jesse McGleughlin L'20
Colleen OConor L'20
Kimberly Grambo L’19
Vivek Kembaiyan L’20
Monica Murphy L’20
Ian Wahrenbrock L’19
Lauren Davis L’21
Maura Hallisey L'20
Kelsey Lee L’20
Mariel Mussack L’20
Michael Machado L’20
Emma Morgenstern L'19
Valerie Snow L'20
Erin Sweeney L'19
Alexei Segall L'20
Emily Kyle L'20
John Schatz L'20
Claire Samuelson L’21
Nadia Zivkov L'20
Lila Sevener L'21
Erik Nickels L’21
Elizabeth Broussard L’21
Ryan Dahrouge L'21
Colin Dobell L’21
Daniel Lewis L'20
Emily Lubin L'19
Rachel Neckes L'21
Lelabari Giwa L'20
Khary Anderson L'19
Haley Pritchard L'20
Joanna Kamhi L'20
Kate Divasto L'2021
Matthew Caulfield LLM
Olufemi Omosuyi LL.M' 19
Jake Bassinder L'21
Jeff Turbin L'21
Ana Jarquin L21
Sanjay Jolly L'21
Sarah Marmon L'21
Athira Sivan L'21
Frances Rodriguez L'20
John Schifalacqua L'19
Erik Lampmann, L’20
Evan McIntyre L'21
Chrissy Pak L'21
Amanda LeSavage L'19
Anissa Chitour L'21
Ilana Saltz L'19
Dorothy Hazan L'19
Victoria Glock-Molloy L'20
Darien Wynn L'19
B. J. Courville L'20
Jane Tomic L’19
Abigail Samuels L'19
Adriana Simmons L'19
Christine Carpenter L'21
Lillian Li L'21
James Alford L'21
Kevin Hayne L'21
Emily Galik L'21
Anna Malone 'L21
Tom Mintz L'20
Mihir Awati L'21
Davina Okonkwo L'20
Ibeabuchi Oteh
Amber Venturelli L'21
Sarah Byrne L'21
Jose Valenzuela L'19
Matthew Park L'21
Jennifer Kim `21
Joe Moita L'20
Yericca Morales L'21
Sophia Berger L'20
Makenzie Way L'20
Grace Greene L’20
Paul Cotler L'20
Sam Gold L'20
Fatoumata Waggeh L'20
Charlotte Mostertz L'20
Evan Frohman L'20
Edward Hale L'20
Celina Antonellis L'21
Bhavin Shah L'21
Victoria Ochoa L'21
Allison Kruk L'21
Jessie Sarkis L'21
John Maccio L'21
Carolyn Rice L'21
Rachel Mann L'21
Jeni Norwalk L'21
Matt Copeland L'21
Dan Gordon L'21
Amber Kenworthy L'21
Emily Portuguese L'21
Mia Fry L'21
Esther Kang L'21
Lydia Lim L'21
Anna Sheu L'21
Blanche Helbling L'21
Charlene Minatee L'21
Andrew Rocco L'21
Alex Altieri L'21
Ben Nichols L'21
Sade Famakinwa L'21
Tom Butterworth L'21
Demisse Selassie L'21
Andrew Timmick L'21
Michael Burnstein L'21
Ziquan Tao LLM
Alana Bevan L'21
Jonathan Ford L'21
Adrianna Vallee L'21
Kevin Matthews L'21
Alex Eaton 2021
Nicole Malick L’20
Justin Porter L'21
Sean Bender L'21
Julian Weiss L'20
Shabel Castro L'19
Justin Pendleton L'21
Alec Miller L'21
Dylan Lojac L'19
Jacob Marsh '21
Jarron McAllister L'20
Sarah Spelman L21
Patricia Liverpool L'19
Angela Monaco L'20
Denis Metin L'20
Karimah Munem L’20
Andrew Jeon L'20
Megan Murphy L'20
Elizabeth Peled L’21
Julia Buff L’21
Ben Bolnick L'21
Jessica Rizzo L ‘21
John Strubing L’21
Anna Marion L'19
Aseem Chipalkatti L'21
Rhochelle Krawetz L'21
Meghan Thadani L'20
Bridget Lavender L'21
Ravina Gogna L'21
Evan Shaver L '19
Domenic Powell L'20
Sarah Riblet L'21
Chad Keizer L'21
Ryan Plesh L'20
Brian Yeh L'19
Alyssa Chai L’19
Jake Romm L20
Sabrina Ruchelli L'19
Liam Murphy L’20
Brendan Holman L'20
Peter Li L'20
Libby Masiuk L'20
Jacklyn Kornstein L'21
Sichan Kim L'19
Patrick Bartley L'21
Jen Ning Yong L’21
Elysa Desa L'20
Michael Joseph L’19
Tyler Schwartz L’21
Lucas Salada L'21
Bradie Williams L’19
Cassandra Dula L'21
Joanna Melnick, L'20
Leslie Reid L'21
Sarah Heberlig L ‘21
Ariana Brill L'19

Last Updated: November 26th at 12:59 PM (176 signatories)
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