Governor Orders Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in Pennsylvania
Governor Wolf issued an Executive Order on May 7, 2020 effectively placing a moratorium on the commencement of any new foreclosure or landlord/tenant eviction actions. The Order is effective immediately and remains in effect until July 10, 2020. For landlords, this means that a Complaint to evict may not be filed until at least July 10, 2020. For leases that do not waive the Notice to Quit requirement contained in the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, landlords who have pending Notices to Quit or who issue a Notice to Quit during the next sixty (60) day period will have to wait until July 10, 2020 before they can pursue a Complaint.
Governor Wolf’s Order does not state whether it relates only to residential leases. While most of the statutory authority he relies on to suggest that he has the power to issue this moratorium relates to housing related legislation, he never states that this Order only applies to residential leases. I would expect that the Governor’s Office will release some guidance or an amended order to clarify whether this Order also relates to commercial leases.
Governor Wolf’s Order also does not appear to only relate to evictions involving a tenant’s inability to pay rent. Unlike the CARES Act moratorium, it appears that Governor Wolf’s Order prohibits the commencement of any landlord/tenant action to dispossess a tenant of their property prior to July 10, 2020, irrespective of the reason for the eviction. This could result in some unintended consequences. For instance, a landlord will not be able to commence an eviction action against tenants who are engaging in illegal activity until July 10, 2020. Some clarification or an amendment of this Order would appear to be necessary.
This article is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.