According to an article online by hiddencityphila.org "The Renwick Family , Hotel Carlyle's current owners, bought the building in 1960 and continued to use if for short-term lodging. By the mid-1980's the neighborhood attracted prostitutes and drug dealers. Both the Carlyle and the Harris House next door were notorious for providing rooms to prostitutes and johns and gained a negative reputation for contributing to the neighborhoods decline. The hotel offered rooms to couple for as little as $10 for a half-hour."
Vance Renwick, in an attempt to self-evict Brenda Morrison and her bedridden son Antonio Morrison, began banging on the door of a room adjacent to the Hotel Carlyle (which has a separate entrance). The occupants, Brenda and Antonio Morrison were a few months behind on their rent. They had paid their rent for the previous nine years rarely if ever falling behind on their payments. Police were called and spoke to both Brenda (now 71 yrs old and a retired nurse who lives off of social security) and slumlord Vance Renwick.
Later that week Vance Renwick shut off all utilities in the room. Legal-Eagles sent an email to Mr. Renwick advising him to cease and desist from the illegal lock out. In Philadelphia, a landlord must get an order from a court to legally evict a tenant. see Philadelphia ordinance Chapter 9-1600, against unlawful eviction.
The police were summoned a second time. Officer Exhume, badge and Officer Abraham badge number 1348, spoke to the parties again. Mr. Renwick apparently mislead the officer to believe because he runs a hotel that Chapter 9-1600 does not apply to him
Legal-Eagles than filed a roll call complaint with the 22nd district. That is currently pending. Tragically, during this time, Brenda's son Antonio passed away from his year long illness.. Legal-Eagles has added a reckless endangerment charge to the complaint. Brenda has alleged that her bedridden son Antonio had to suffer with no heat, no electrictiy, no hot food, no hot water. Brenda had been providing continuous home health care for the past year.
The Council of the City of Philadelphia found in their legislative report pursuant to Chapter 9-1600 as follows; " Each year, thousands of tenants in the City of Philadelphia are subjected to actual or threatened use of self-help eviction practices.
Many tenants victimized by self-help eviction are low and very low income persons and are particularly vulnerable to being deprived of their rights to judicial process
Self-help evictions exacerbate the incidence of homelessness among the City's low and very low income population. Existing remedies do not afford adequate protection against unlawful eviction. Self-help eviction practices include the use of violence and the infliction of physical harm upon tenants in efforts to force tenants to vacate their rental dwellings without recourse judicial process.
Typical examples of self-help practices include lock-outs without court authorization, intentional interference with vital utilities, such as heat, electricity, water and gas, and the seizure of tenant's personal property.
Self-help evictions deprive tenants of their opportunity to assert defenses such as the existence of defective conditions within the leased premises, in a judicial proceeding and thereby impacts adversely upon the City's efforts to enforce the Housing and other chapters of the Philadelphia code.
The termination of utilities and blockage of means of ingress and egress from dwelling units create condition that are themselves violations of the Philadelphia code.
The existing remedy to prevent self-help eviction is limited to a private civil action to obtain injunctive relief in the Court of Common Pleas, court costs, attorney fees and , most significantly, the delays inherent in private civil actions, frequently deter tenants from taking action against self-help eviction processes
Where the tenant alleges a violation of this chapter, the tenant may contact the local police to obtain police assistance in regaining entry into the premises. Penalties for any person who engages in the self-help eviction activities described in this chapter or who assists in such activities shall be guilty of a Class III offense, and shall be subject to a fine as set forth in subsection1-109(3). Each day a violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense for which a separate penalty shall be imposed and carries up to 90 days in prison
So far the Philadelphia 22 district has not enforced these ordinances even after Sherry Morrison, Brenda's daughter, arrived in person at the district to show them the policy and ordinance. They refused to read the paperwork. It should be noted that slumlord Vance Renwick does not even have a rental license, according to the Philadelphia Rental as
sistance agency. By law he should not be renting rooms or collected fees and rent.
Legal-Eagles will keep its readers posted on the outcome of this case