Philadelphia has an unusual eviction system in that the Sheriff has the power to authorize private contractors to conduct lockouts on their behalf. The landlord-tenant officers in Philadelphia are hired by a private attorney appointed by the Philadelphia Municipal Court who are allowed to enforce eviction orders stemming from landlord-tenant disputes in Court. The landlord-tenant officers charge cheaper rates for its services compared to the sheriff’s office, and often provide a more efficient service.
As of July 19, 2023, landlord-tenant officers have agreed to temporarily stop performing lockouts after a deputy landlord-tenant officer allegedly shot a 33-year-old woman in the right leg during a lockout in Kensington. This was the third time in four months that a landlord-tenant officer fired a gun on the job. The lockouts carried out by the landlord-tenant office will be suspended until further notice until the court has been assured the employees and contractors have received up-to-date training in use of force and de-escalation procedures, the city said. Landlords still have the option to contact the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office for evictions, according to the city.
What does this mean for Philadelphia landlords? The Sheriff's Office was already backed up with lockouts before the LT office was shut down, with lockouts sometimes taking as long as two months after the landlord receives judgment. Now, Philadelphia landlords can expect the process to take even longer, especially without legal representation.
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Pritzker Law Group has in-depth knowledge on how to navigate Philadelphia landlord-tenant law. Reach out to us for any questions you may have, and find out how we can help work out various solutions to your tenant conflicts.