What are Landlord and Tenant Rights and Obligations During the Pandemic?
On May 7, 2020 Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order extending Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, which was set to expire on May 11, until July 10, 2020. What are landlord and tenant rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Landlords and tenants should be aware of the following rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- During the moratorium, landlords may continue to assess late fees for late rental payments and send default notices to tenants.
- Although evictions cannot take place while the order is in effect, rental contracts are still valid and payments are due to landlords.
- Landlords cannot evict tenants without providing tenants written notice and going through the court process.
- By emergency order, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) prohibits electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations, which will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6 related to the Coronavirus, is in effect.
- The Pennsylvania Care Package may provide financial relief to landlords who rely on rent for their income.
- Landlords with federally backed mortgage loans, or federally assisted rental housing and voucher programs, are subject to restrictions under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which halts evictions until July 25, 2020.
Attorney General Shapiro has also released a guide to help Pennsylvania landlords and tenants understand their rights, obligations, protections, and programs available during the COVID-19 epidemic. See the full guide here.
This blog was originally published April 30, 2020 and was updated with new guidance on May 8, 2020, after PA Governor Tom Wolf’s May 7 executive order was announced. It is likely that additional guidance will be provided in weeks to come.
Safa Ashrafi is an associate attorney in the Business Services group. She provides contract law guidance to clients in the real estate, municipal, banking and non-profit industries.