Philadelphia House Delegation helps move eviction reform bill following City Hall public hearing

HARRISBURG, Nov. 2 – This week, legislation (H.B. 287) introduced by state Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., to make commonsense eviction reforms in Philadlephia was approved by the House Housing and Community Development Committee on a 14-11 vote. Six Philadelphia House Delegation members, including Krajewski and delegation Chairwoman state Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila. sit on the committee. All six voted to approve the legislation.

The bill would require eviction in Philadelphia to (1) be carried out by a public entity, (2) receive oversight from a review board, and (3) involve accompanying behavioral health professionals.

Krajewski’s introduction of H.B. 287 comes after three shootings during evictions carried out by Philadelphia’s Landlord-Tenant Officer this summer. Following those incidents, in August, the Philadelphia House Delegation co-hosted a public hearing on the issue at Philadelphia City Hall with the state House Housing and Community Development Committee.

“Evictions are the worst day in someone’s life, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’re carried out safely and with compassion,” Krajewski said. “Philadelphia's violent, for-profit eviction system is an outlier statewide and desperately needs to be replaced. No one should fear for their life because they can’t make rent.”

Cephas celebrated advancement of the bill, she said would make Philadelphia’s eviction process more humane and safer.

“Reforming the evictions process in Philadelphia is crucial. Affordable housing is a crisis across the state, so evictions need to be handled humanely and safely,” Cephas said. “This legislation shows what can happen when different levels of government collaborate in the best interests of our citizens. I'm glad the Housing & Community Development Committee followed up on the information gathered at this summer's public hearing about the problems of using private contractors in evictions with today's vote on House Bill 287. We'll be advocating with our colleagues for the bill’s approval in the legislature.”

The bill is in place for consideration by the full House as soon as mid-November.