To find out if an eviction case has been filed against you go to the Philadelphia Municipal Court website and search for you name (defendant) and your landlord’s name (plaintiff).

If you receive an eviction complaint,
you must go to court.

Be sure to be on time! If you miss your appearance in court, you may lose your case even if your landlord has no grounds to evict you. If you fail to appear for a good reason you may file a Petition to Open your case immediately.

After the court clerk reads the list of cases (the roll), tenants and landlords (and their lawyers) are called before the Trial Commissioner. This person is not a judge. The Commission will encourage both sides to make an agreement to resolve the case before it goes to the judge.

If you reach an agreement with your landlord before your court date, you must go to court to make sure the agreement is properly recorded. If you decide to make an agreement with your landlord, it is important to know that all agreements are binding and cannot be appealed later.

You do not have to make an agreement if you do not want to!

Mediators are available in Landlord-Tenant Court to help landlords and tenants reach some kind of compromise instead of going before the judge. Mediators are not lawyers, but they can help you talk with your landlord. If you make an agreement with your landlord or the lawyer, do not go right home. Wait for the Trial Commissioner to call you. The Commissioner will read the agreement aloud and ask if you understand and agree.

Make sure what the Commissioner reads into the records is complete and accurate!

If you choose not to make an agreement, or if you try to settle the matter with your landlord and are unsuccessful, you can choose to challenge and defend yourself before a judge, allowing the judge to decide your case. Be sure to bring any evidence such as rent receipts, L&I reports, photographs, letters, invoices for repairs, and eyewitnesses to court with you in order to support your case.

When your case is called both you and your landlord will have a few minutes to present your case. Your landlord will go first. After hearing both sides, the judge will make a decision or judgment.

If the judge rules in favor of your landlord, there are two kinds of judgments:

  1. A judgment for possession (meaning possession of your home or apartment, not your personal property)
  2. And/or judgment for money, back rent, and court costs