UNDATED (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf is extending a statewide moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until Aug. 31, saying renters need more breathing room in the midst of the pandemic.
The moratorium had been set to lapse Friday. The Wolf administration has been facing growing calls to extend it, with housing advocates and others predicting a rush to the courthouse and a wave of evictions and homelessness.
Landlords say they are hard-pressed to keep up with taxes, insurance, mortgage payments and other expenses without the ability to enforce leases.
Pennsylvania is using $175 million of its federal coronavirus relief money to provide rental assistance to eligible tenants and mortgage relief to homeowners, but the money has not started flowing yet.
Harrisburg, PA — 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 a new 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. Lenders and property owners that receive funds through the PHFA program agree not pursue foreclosure or eviction actions as a condition of participation in the program.
“I am taking this action to help families know they will have a roof over their heads and a place to live while all of us fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “It takes one more burden off of people who are struggling and ensures that families can remain in their homes so they can protect their health and wellbeing.”
The governor signed legislation in May providing $150 million for rental assistance and $25 million for mortgage assistance through PHFA with CARES Act funds. PHFA began accepting applications July 6.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Housing Finance Agency, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have each extended eviction and foreclosure protections for housing under their authority to Aug. 31.
In almost all circumstances, renters and homeowners are required to continue making monthly payments if they can. Pennsylvanians struggling to make monthly payments should contact their landlord or mortgage servicer immediately. The governor’s executive order does not apply to proceedings regarding property damage or illegal activity.
The governor previously signed an executive order suspending evictions and foreclosures, which expires Friday. That action followed a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order which closed court eviction proceedings until May 11.