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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 18, 2020 04:03 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes and Sen. Nikil Saval
To: All Senate members
Subject: Temporary suspension of foreclosures and evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic
In the near future, we plan on introducing legislation to temporarily halt evictions and foreclosures for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster declaration.

Over the past several months, there have been a number of temporary halts to evictions and foreclosures.  Congress, the CDC, the Governor and the Pennsylvania Courts have at varying times placed a hold on evictions and foreclosures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last session, the Senate Democrats urged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Governor to take action on protecting renters and homeowners during this pandemic.  As a result of our leadership, many individuals felt safe and secure that they would not have to decide between paying rent or feeding their children despite reductions to income and work hours.

Still, these temporary fixes have not provided enough assurances. Individuals continue to struggle and they want to know they will not lose their home as a result of COVID-19. Our bill would give impacted families sound footing to know they will not face eviction or foreclosure because of the pandemic.

This bill is more important than ever. An estimated 240,000 Pennsylvanians are at risk of eviction, with the public costs of homelessness due to these potential evictions in our state reaching $2.8B.  Worse, we now know that evictions and foreclosures lead to increased community spread of COVID-19.  The UCLA Fiedling School of Public Health estimated that expiring eviction and foreclosure moratoria could lead to 400,000 excess COVID-19 cases and over 10,000 excess deaths.  There is already evidence that these outcomes would be mitigated by adopting this bill. Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that the federal foreclosure moratorium, forbearance plans, and stimulus payments have resulted in foreclosure rates that were lower in the second quarter of 2020 than anytime over the last two decades.
Our legislation would be modeled after Senate Bill 1132 from last session. There, stakeholders offered realistic and reasonable protections that would concretely protect homeowners and renters alike.  Under our bill, evictions for nonpayment of rent as a result of COVID-19 would be delayed until 60 days after the expiration of the Governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.  In addition, foreclosures would also be paused until 60 days after the expiration of the Governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.
We hope you will join us in supporting this legislation that gives families across the Commonwealth the housing security they need to stay physically healthy and economically secure during this unprecedented pandemic.

Introduced as SB290