In this recent Commonwealth Court case several landlords renting single-family properties to students challenged the constitutionality of the Philadelphia Zoning Ordinance’s definition of “family.” Specifically they sought to invalidate the exclusion of “more than three persons unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption” from the definition. In the court’s decision it affirmed the general principles that in Pennsylvania the constitutionality of a zoning ordinance is subject to rational basis review and that ordinances may exclude certain living arrangements from the definition of “family” based on biological and legal bonds.

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