Hapco Philadelphia filed a complaint today challenging the city’s recently passed Emergency Housing Protection Act, which comes in response to COVID-19 hardships.

Hapco Philadelphia today filed suit against the City of Philadelphia and Mayor James Kenney, challenging the Emergency Housing Protection Act, a package of five bills signed into law last Wednesday that places an overwhelming financial burden on landlords in the city.

According to the complaint, the Act “unilaterally rewrites every residential and small business lease in Philadelphia to add terms and make void existing terms that were previously negotiated between landlord and tenant.”

The Act:

  • requires landlords to participate in an Eviction Diversion Program
  • voids lease terms for any late fees or interest due on back rent
  • prohibits landlords from seeking to evict tenants for failing to pay rent for a period lasting up to May 31, 2021
  • compels landlords to enter into “hardship repayment agreements” to allow tenants to pay – interest and penalty free – by May 31, 2021 any past due rent accumulated from March through August, 2020.

The complaint says the Act violates both the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions in significant and profound ways. It acknowledges that while some Philadelphia renters are facing struggles as a result of COVID-19, the City of Philadelphia is violating the constitutional rights of landlords to address those issues.

The complaint asks the Court to declare the Act null and void because it is unconstitutional, preempted by the Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Act, and violates landlords’ right under due process.

Read the full complaint here.