Phase 4 Rental and Utility Assistance

Important Information for Landlords and Tenants:

Lockouts

Philadelphia Municipal Court: starting on August 14, 2021 no lockout shall occur where a rental assistance application has been marked “complete” by the City of Philadelphia. Read the order here. Applicants can check their online portal to see whether their application is considered complete for purposes of this Court order. This Court order extends through October 31, 2021.

Notwithstanding any protections against lockouts provided by the Philadelphia Courts, in the event that a landlord applies for assistance through Phase 4 or finalizes a tenant’s application, and locks out their tenant prior to receiving assistance, the landlord will forfeit their right to receive any assistance through the program unless the subject lease is reinstated and the tenant is permitted to re-occupy the premises within ten (10) days of notice. If the landlord forfeits their right to receive the funds due to a lockout, the tenant may still be eligible to receive some or all of the funds, paid to the tenant directly.

Eviction Moratorium ENDED by US Supreme Court

On August 26th the US Supreme Court made a ruling that ended the federal eviction moratorium. Philadelphia still has local protections in place for tenants under certain circumstances. Read below for more information on those protections. If you are at risk of eviction you can call the Philly Tenant Hotline for advice: 267-443-2500

Protections in Place

  • Under the Emergency Housing Protection Act (Section 9-809 of the Philadelphia Code), tenants experiencing a COVID-19 financial hardship may be entitled to protections including waiver of late fees, participation in the eviction diversion program and a payment plan for unpaid rents and utilities. Tenants wishing to assert these rights should submit a Certification of Hardship to their landlords.
  • As of April 1, 2021, no landlord may file a Landlord Tenant Complaint seeking possession based on non-payment of rent owed prior to the date of filing until 45 days after they have first completed an application with the PHL Rent Assist Program. Upon completing the application, the landlord will be automatically enrolled in the Eviction Diversion Program as well. It will be a dispositive affirmative defense for any tenant to show that the landlord did not pursue either rental assistance or eviction diversion through the City of Philadelphia Programs timely or in good faith.
  • The City of Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program enables landlords and tenants to arrive at an agreement that works for both parties, without going to Court. Learn more and apply.

Phase 4 Rental Assistance Updates

Phase 4 Landlords Rental Assistance Training Video

Phase 4 Maximums No Longer in Effect (as of June 30, 2021)

Phase 4 no longer has any maximum amount of assistance for rent or utility assistance. Previously there was a $2,000 per month maximum on rent assistance and a $2,000 per utility maximum on assistance. Those maximums are no longer in effect. However, this change is not effective retroactively, just moving forward for new applications.

Update as of August 26, 2021
Due to overwhelming demand, shortage of available funding, and uncertainty relating to when or if additional funds will be available from the federal government, we have made the difficult decision that we are not going to allow tenants and landlords who have already received funds in Phase 4 to apply for a second round of Phase 4 funding at this time. We know that many tenants may need additional assistance. However, thousands of households have not been assisted at all yet, and we want to make sure that we can serve as many households as possible with limited funding.

Pennsylvania Emergency Rental (and Utility) Assistance Program (ERAP)

The easiest way to apply for Philadelphia’s Phase 4 rental and utility assistance is through our online system. If you do not have access to a computer or the internet please contact 311 and we can help you apply. Philadelphia will accept Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ paper ERAP application, but the process may be much slower and we may need to request additional information. If you are submitting a paper application please send it to:

PHLRentAssist c/o PHDC,
1234 Market Street 16th Floor, Philadelphia PA 19107.

Fraud, Noncompliance and Discrimination

If you believe you are aware of fraud or noncompliance with the program guidelines, please reach out to our help desk and notify us right away so we can investigate the issue.

To make a complaint of discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, or limited English proficiency covered by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, please visit the Help Desk.  Under Applicant Information click on “Help Type.” Select Title VI discrimination complaint from the  dropdown list. Include a brief description of the complaint in the comment box.

Child Tax Credits

These funds do not count as income for program eligibility.

Appeals

If an application is incomplete, we will provide the opportunity to resubmit information. If an application is marked as Denied, that means that it does not meet program eligibility. If an applicant believes that their application was denied in error, they may appeal the decision. Applicants may request an appeal at the Philadelphia county level by contacting the PHLRentAssist Help Desk here. Staff will then review the application and determine whether the original determination was correct. Applicants may also appeal to the State by writing to DHS Office of Hearings and Appeals, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105.

To make a complaint of discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, or limited English proficiency covered by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, please visit the Help Desk.  Select Title VI discrimination complaint from the “Help Type” dropdown list and include a brief description of the complaint in the comment box.