PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Court officials in Philadelphia have put a hold on residential evictions in the city for two weeks. In an order issued Wednesday afternoon, Municipal Court President Judge Patrick F. Dugan, suspended service of the writs necessary to lockout residents in an eviction proceeding until Sept. 23.

He also limited the number of writs that can be served in the next two weeks notifying residents that an eviction proceeding is underway between Sept. 8 and Sept. 21. Those notices must also contain information about the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention bar on certain evictions during the pandemic and provide the form tenants must fill out to qualify for protection.

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Philadelphia’s landlord-tenant court reopened last week to begin holding hearings rescheduled during the pandemic. The city and the court have been processing how the CDC order would affect eviction proceedings in a city where close to 20,000 evictions are performed each year.

Protesters tried to block entrance to the court last week to prevent hearings from taking place and more than a dozen people were arrested and given citations for failure to disperse.

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The CDC’s ban on evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID-related loss of income took effect Friday, days after a Pennsylvania moratorium on evictions expired. It requires certain conditions be met and a tenant to have applied for aid related to COVID-related rental issues to qualify.

City Council members said they planned to introduce a bill during council proceedings Thursday to extend a city moratorium on evictions through the end of the year- when the federal protections also expire.

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