You are here

COVID-19 Information for Pennsylvania

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

State Legal and Regulatory Information

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Shelter in Place 

On Monday May 4, 2020, Governor Wolf’s administration updated its guidance for counties in the “yellow phase” of Pennsylvania’s phased reopening plans. In the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction are eased while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. 

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Governor Wolf amended his Executive Order that closed all non-life sustaining businesses to allow for limited business transactions for the real estate industry statewide. 

On Friday, May 22, 2020, twelve additional counties moved into the yellow phase of the Process to Reopen Pennsylvania. At 12:01 a.m. Friday, Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York counties joined the thirty-seven counties already in the yellow phase.

Governor Wolf announced on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 that he will allow the amended stay-at-home order to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, 2020. Beginning Friday, June 5, 2020, all sixty-seven counties will be either in the yellow or green phase of reopening.

State of Emergency 

Governor Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency on March 6, 2020.

Eviction

Executive Order

  • Action: On May 7, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the signing of an executive order that prohibits foreclosures and evictions through July 10, 2020.
  • Scope: Prohibits the filing of eviction notices. All timelines for ongoing cases must be computed and may only continue after July 10, 2020. 
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

No statewide emergency rental assistance for Pennsylvania.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Pennsylvania is a Dillon’s rule state, meaning all authorities granted to local government are determined by the state government. See American Legislative Exchange Council for more details.

Price-Gouging Law

Under Pennsylvania Code § 232.4, it is unlawful to sell or offer goods and services at an unconscionably excessive price. Excessive pricing is determined if the price of a good or service is in excess of 20 percent of its average price immediately prior to the declaration of emergency. The language of this statute holds during a declaration of emergency and 30 days following its termination.

Local Legal and Regulatory Information

Allegheny County 

Eviction 

Allegheny County President Judge Kim Clark declared a judicial emergency for the Fifth Judicial District of Allegheny County. The order halts almost all criminal and civil proceedings through June 1, 2020, which means a county-wide moratorium on evictions. 
 
The stay does not apply to situations in which public health is threatened, said Michelle Sandidge, chief community affairs officer for the city’s Housing Authority

Philadelphia 

Eviction

The First Judicial District (FJD) of Pennsylvania has ordered that all FJD courts will be closed until May 29, 2020.  
Jury and non-jury trials, both criminal and civil, and preliminary hearings are suspended and will be rescheduled at a later date. 
Issuance and enforcement of writs of possession is also suspended. 
FJD will continue to re-evaluate all closures moving forward and will alert the public to any changes to what is outlined, as appropriate.

Pittsburgh

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh’s (URA) Board of Directors approved a new program for households at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI) who have been affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Fund is designed to provide short-term assistance to workers who have experienced a reduction in hours and are facing a financial hardship to pay rent and utilities. 

Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, households in need of rental, mortgage payment, and/or utility assistance, specifically because their work hours were cut due to COVID-19, may call the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh at (412) 227-4163 to be screened for assistance.