Defenses to Nonpayment of Rent

Rent Receipts: Bring all your receipts or proof of payment to court for the whole time you lived in the property.

Repairs: If you withheld rent due to repairs, you should bring:

  • Current bank statements or money orders showing rent you withheld.
  • printed, dated photos
  • documented L&I violations
  • texts, emails or letters to landlord about repairs
  • receipts for any repairs you made

License: Your landlord needs a Housing Inspection License to charge you rent. Get license history from L&I at the Municipal Services Building at Broad & JFK or call 311.

Certificate of Rental Suitability: If you moved in after October 2011 your landlord needs to give you a Certificate of Rental Suitability and the Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing Brochure to charge you rent or evict you.

Lead Safe Certification: If you moved in after December 2012, your landlord needs to provide you a Lead Safe Certification if you live in private housing built before 1978 with a child age six or under.

Lead Paint Violation: If the Health Department cites your landlord for a lead paint violation, your landlord cannot evict or charge rent until it is fixed.

Excess Security Deposit: After the first year of a lease, you can ask for a rent credit for any security deposit over one month’s rent.

Utilities: Check your lease and see if the utility was your responsibility. Also, bring any bills or letters from the utility company showing what you paid.

Attorney Fees: You do not owe for attorney fees unless it says so in your lease and you were wrong in some way.

Damages: You are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear; only damages you caused.

Defenses to Termination of Term

Term not over: Check your lease to see if the lease term is actually over.

Certificate of Rental Suitability: If you moved in after October 2011 your landlord needs to give you a Certificate of Rental Suitability and the Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing Brochure to charge you rent or evict you.

Subsidized Housing Protections: If you live in HUD, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) or public housing, you cannot be evicted for termination of term.

Violations: Your landlord cannot evict you if there are open L&I or lead violations and you are current in rent or rent escrow.

Defenses to Breach of Lease

Your landlord must prove that you breached the lease using documentation or witnesses. You can bring documentation and witnesses with you to court to show that you did not breach your lease.