Updated Information on COVID-19 and Eviction Protections for Renters and Homeowners

UPDATE: The Center for Disease Control has issued a new order temporarily halting evictions in counties with heightened levels of community transmission in order to respond to recent developments in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new moratorium is in effect through October 3, 2021 and covers counties experiencing substantial or high transmission rates, as shown on the CDC map.

In order to qualify for protection from eviction under this order, the tenant will need to sign a declaration form as under the previous moratorium.

UPDATE: The Center for Disease Control has issued a federal eviction moratorium that has been extended until July 31st. The moratorium applies only to non-payment of rent, and does not forgive rent or prohibit landlords or property owners from charging late fees.  In order to qualify for the eviction protection, the tenant will need to sign a declaration certifying that the following are true:

  • I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020-2021(or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2020 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  • I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  • If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options;
  • I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
  • I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on March 31, 2021, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws.

UPDATE: On July 9th Governor Tom Wolf signed a new executive order that protects homeowners and renters from eviction or foreclosure until Aug. 31, if they have not received assistance from the PA CARES program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) or are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders.

Eligibility information and applications for PA CARES funding may be found here.

UPDATE: On June 18th Philadelphia City Council extended the moratorium on eviction of renters until August 31st and passed several bills extending assistance to renters experiencing COVID related financial hardships.

UPDATE: On May 21st Governor Wolf signed an amendment to the May 7th eviction moratorium. This amendment clarifies that the moratorium applies only to Pennsylvanians who cannot pay their rent or who have overstayed their leases, in which case they are protected from eviction until July 10th. This order does NOT prohibit evictions for other issues such as property damage or illegal activity.

UPDATE: Governor Wolf signed an executive order on May 7th, extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through July 10. This action extends the previous Pennsylvania Supreme Court order for an additional 60 days. Remember, renters and homeowners should continue making monthly payments if possible. If you are unable to make payments, should should contact your landlord or mortgage servicer immediately to set up a payment plan.

April 30, 2020: The following is a list of updated COVID-19 protections for renters and homeowners in Pennsylvania. Please note that the original moratorium on evictions has been extended to May 11, 2020 statewide. The PA Supreme Court however, gave individual counties the authority to extend court closures even longer. Tenants should still pay their rent if possible during this time. Refusing to pay rent could lead the landlord to take legal action when the ban ends. Payment plans can be set up if both parties agree. These agreements should be in writing.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Order

The PA Supreme Court extended the eviction moratorium from April 30, 2020 to May 11, 2020. The Order closes most courts and prohibits any eviction, ejectment, or other displacement of PA residents for failure to make payments or pay property taxes through May 11, 2020. After May 11, 2020, an eviction or foreclosure is not automatic. A landlord or mortgage company must still go to court and obtain a court order to evict or foreclose on residents.

Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Northampton, and Montgomery Counties all have extended protections for renters and homeowners. This means that none of the counties will hold eviction hearings until after the dates listed, but landlords can still file evictions if the magistrate courts allow filings via mail. The evictions will be docketed but hearings will not be scheduled until after the emergency declaration is lifted.

  • Bucks County: Judicial order stating that all landlord tenant action hearings shall be continued to a date after May 31, 2020. Requests for Orders of Possession resulting from judgements entered in landlord tenant actions may be filed. However, any execution on an Order of Possession is stayed to a date after May 31, 2020.
  • Chester County: Judicial Emergency extended to May 31, 2020.
  • Delaware County: Evictions stayed through and including June 1, 2020.
  • Montgomery County: Court closure extended to May 31, 2020.
  • Philadelphia county: Judicial Emergency extended to May 29, 2020.
  • Lehigh County: Judicial Emergency extended to May 31, 2020.
  • Northampton County: Court closure extended to May 31, 2020.

You can find more county specific information at http://www.pacourts.us/ujs-coronavirus-information

The C.A.R.E.S. Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)

Signed into law on March 27, 2020. This Act prohibits property owners from filing new evictions for non-payment of rent against tenants in various types of publicly funded housing. The ban lasts for 120 days, or until July 25, 2020. During that time the owners of covered properties may not file an eviction for nonpayment of rent or charge late fees or any other penalties related to nonpayment of rent. Owners of covered properties also may not issue any Notice to Vacate during that 120 day period. Owners of covered properties must give 30 days’ notice of filing an eviction for nonpayment of rent after the ban ends. This effectively extends the ban on filing eviction cases for tenants in covered properties until August 23, 2020.

Please visit Regional Housing Legal Service’s COVID-19 Information Page for printable fact sheets on these protections.