The ordinance is designed to provide much-needed relief to Philadelphia restaurants struggling to pay rent due to the impact of COVID-19 and the numerous ever-changing restrictions on dining. When the pandemic hit in March, Philadelphia enacted a moratorium on evictions that covered small businesses with no more than 100 employees. That temporary ban on evictions expired in August, making the new moratorium vital to the survival of many Philadelphia restaurants, according to its supporters.
To qualify for the new 180-day eviction moratorium, a restaurant must meet the following requirements:
Protection under the ordinance will apply to qualified restaurant tenants that have provided their landlords with a food establishment certificate of hardship. Under the ordinance, the only acceptable basis for eviction is to intervene in the case of a threat of imminent harm by a restaurant tenant.
Only under very limited circumstances is it permissible for a landlord to charge fees or penalties for delinquent rent payments. All of the following conditions must be met:
Notice and Repayment Plans
The ordinance also provides that for one year following the expiration of the moratorium, so long as a restaurant tenant has provided the requisite food establishment certification of hardship, a landlord may not take any steps toward eviction unless it provides a notice of intent to evict at least 30 days prior to taking any such steps. In addition, the ordinance requires any landlord that has been provided a food establishment certificate of hardship to offer a repayment plan for past due rent.
The COVID-19 Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID19 situation develops.
Co-authors Adrienne C. Beatty, associate, and Alexandra B. Curtin, law clerk are members of the Corporate & Securities Department at Klehr Harrison.