PITTSBURGH, PA (May 21, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh Law Department filed an amicus brief yesterday with the state Supreme Court in support of an executive order from Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro protecting Pennsylvanians from evictions or foreclosures through July 10, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wolf and Shapiro announced the order May 7, extending eviction protections for an extra 60 days past an original stay that was set to expire May 11. Landlords challenged their order in a King’s Bench petition filed with the Supreme Court.
Rejection of the eviction and foreclosure projections would hurt the City budget, force residents into homelessness, and compromise efforts to fight the coronavirus, the City’s brief argues.
“The unemployment surge caused by COVID19,” the brief says, “puts more households at risk of eviction for inability to pay rent. As many rental units in Pittsburgh are owned by many persons with a small number of properties, the policies and practices being implemented and contemplated for financial assistance to the unemployed will ultimately position tenants to pay overdue rent and provide many landlords with the revenues necessary to satisfy their real estate tax obligation to Pittsburgh within the budget year.”
“Should landlords dispossess tenants from safe shelter when tenants have no financial resources to secure their own safe housing, they will end up nomads, moving into the households of family and friends for short-term stays. When those options are exhausted, members of the dispossessed households can end up homeless without shelter. Each of these possible outcomes compromises the success of social distancing and limited physical contacts within groups. Maintaining these public health practices is essential until the virus’ spread can be controlled with a tested vaccine.”
A full copy of the City’s brief is available here.