|March 30, 2023 10:43 AM
|Senator Nikil Saval and Sen. Sharif Street
|All Senate members
|Prohibiting Private Entities from Performing Evictions
In the near future, we will introduce legislation to ensure that public offices, not private entities, are tasked with serving and enforcing writs of possession, alias writs, and other orders stemming from Landlord-Tenant cases.
The issue of private actors enforcing evictions was laid bare yesterday when an employee of Philadelphia’s “Landlord-Tenant Officer” shot a woman in the head while attempting to evict her from her home.
The Landlord-Tenant Officer is not a public entity. It is a private law firm appointed by the Philadelphia Municipal Court to perform evictions in the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia is an outlier – most other jurisdictions have the County Sheriff or other public offices handle evictions. In fact, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office is already empowered to do this work and performs evictions and ejectments in many cases resolved in the Court of Common Pleas. But in Municipal Court, most eviction judgments are enforced by the private Landlord-Tenant Officer.
This arrangement between Municipal Court and the Landlord-Tenant Officer is untenable. It does not allow for public oversight over an area of grave public concern: the forced removal of someone from their home.
Our legislation will amend Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Code to clarify that courts throughout the Commonwealth cannot empower private companies or individuals to perform evictions. We ask that you join us in cosponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as SB732