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09/24/2021 03:28 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=36104
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: August 23, 2021 12:46 PM
From: Senator Nikil Saval and Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, Sen. Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Preventing Evictions and Foreclosures and Promoting Equitable Housing Recovery
 
In the future, we will introduce legislation that protects tenants and homeowners from evictions and foreclosures related to the COVID-19 emergency. This bill requires landlords and mortgage servicers to seek available relief through emergency rental assistance and homeowners assistance programs before moving forward with an eviction or foreclosure.

While management of the pandemic has improved drastically, we are far from a complete recovery. Our offices have received numerous calls from people who are afraid of losing their homes. News outlets reported that 13% of homeowners in the Philadelphia region were behind on their mortgages at the beginning of 2021, and nationwide more than 11 million renters had past due rent. Between July 31 and August 3, 2021, when we had no CDC eviction moratorium in place, our offices received calls from tenants who were facing evictions because they fell behind on rent. Many had lost jobs due to the pandemic and were in dire need of rental assistance to be able to stay in their homes.

These evictions and foreclosures are preventable. The federal government has allocated $46 billion for emergency rental assistance that states and counties are in the process of distributing. Pennsylvania itself received more than $500 million in Emergency Rental Assistance Funds, and much of it remains untouched. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is also set to administer $350 million in federal funds allocated to help struggling homeowners. 


The money is there. We can ensure that tenants and homeowners stay housed at no additional expense to landlords and mortgage companies. To mitigate unnecessary harm to Pennsylvania residents, our legislation will require the following: 

  • Landlords seeking to evict for nonpayment of rent must apply for Emergency Rental Assistance funds and provide tenants with information about the available program with consideration to the tenant’s language of choice. 
  • Courts with jurisdiction over the eviction process must grant a continuance of 60 days until the application for rental assistance is approved or denied. 
  • Mortgage servicers must halt foreclosure proceedings until they are compliant with federal loss mitigation guidelines regarding COVID-19–related forbearances and post-forbearance loss mitigation options.
  • Mortgage servicers must notify Pennsylvania borrowers of programs that can help prevent foreclosure.
  • The Office of the Attorney General must oversee claims from mortgage servicers that have difficulties with compliance.
  • Mortgage servicers must record the language preference of the person facing foreclosure and provide necessary translation and interpretation services in communication. 

We have the tools to keep Pennsylvanians housed while keeping affected parties whole. Please join us in sponsoring this important legislation.