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Landlord-Tenant Law in the Time of COVID

Attorney Kevin WalshAs we are all well aware, COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of our lives. This is certainly the case in the area of landlord-tenant law. As I write this, Pennsylvania no longer has a statewide eviction moratorium in place. After expiring on August 31, 2020, neither the Governor’s Office nor the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reinstituted a stay of evictions in the Commonwealth. (https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20200709-TWW-eviction-order.pdf) However, that does not mean that there are no protections in place where tenants have failed to pay rent.

On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an Order effective September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020 which allows residential tenants to stay an eviction provided that they submit an affidavit to their landlord. When submitted, the affidavit would prohibit the actual eviction from taking place.

However, the Order does not apply to all evictions. Instead, the Order states, “Nothing in this Order precludes evictions based on a tenant, lessee, or resident: (1) Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or(5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).” (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/04/2020-19654/temporary-halt-in-residential-evictions-to-prevent-the-further-spread-of-covid-19)

A tenant must meet certain criteria to qualify for coverage under the Order. It is also important to note that the Order does not relieve the obligation to pay rent or prevent a landlord from commencing eviction proceedings with the Magisterial District Court. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/eviction-moratoria-order-faqs.pdf) Rather, the Order temporarily bans the actual eviction from taking place during this period except in those situations detailed above.

These are difficult times for both landlords and tenants, and it is usually wise to attempt to resolve issues amicably especially in light of the CDC Order. Local courts may also have their own restrictions concerning evictions and civil actions generally. If you have questions regarding landlord-tenant law or other property rights, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can help.

About Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms that has had the privilege of representing more families in the courtroom than any other NEPA firm. The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Report, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. The firm was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, Jr., has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history. The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm across multiple categories in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at www.HKQLaw.com or by calling (800) 760-1529.

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