Judge tells Philly Gas Works to stop targeting landlords

A federal judge has told Philadelphia Gas Works to stop targeting landlords whose tenants don’t pay their utility bills.

Philly.com reports Thursday’s ruling prevents the city-owned utility from filing liens on rental properties where tenants don’t pay the bills.

The city plans to appeal because PGW officials says it collects about $500,000 a month from such liens, and would otherwise have to recoup the losses by charging customers higher rates.

But the judge agreed with the landlords who say targeting them for the unpaid bills of others violates their due process and other constitutional rights.

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The utility has about 24,000 liens totaling nearly $28 million on residential rental properties and another 4,300 liens worth $7.5 million on commercial rental properties.

PGW can still file liens on properties owned by deadbeat customers.

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