Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Courts & Justice

Allegheny County president judge asks Pennsylvania Supreme Court to extend eviction protections

rent_evictions.jpg
Kiley Koscinski
/
90.5 WESA
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium is no longer in effect.

Eviction protections that had been set to expire this weekend could be extended for at least another month in Allegheny County Courts.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling threw out a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium in late August, but Allegheny County has had protections in place since then because of a local court order. That order is set to end Sunday, but on Friday morning, Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark asked the state Supreme Court to allow local courts to keep continuing cases to allow tenants more time to apply for the emergency rental assistance program.

In her petition to the court, Judge Clark cited “high” ongoing COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, and continuing efforts by the county to distribute more than $80 million in federal rental assistance.

“The [court] procedures also allow for postponement of proceedings so that residential evictions do not occur while good faith efforts are being made to obtain rental assistance that would be reasonably likely to prevent the eviction,” she wrote.

On Wednesday, a coalition of progressive groups and elected officials had called on Judge Clark to extend the eviction protections locally.

As of Friday, more than 19,000 Allegheny County households have applied for emergency rental assistance; about 38% have received a payment. People can continue to apply to the program.

Nationally, the end of the CDC’s order hasn’t brought about as large a surge of evictions as some advocates had feared.

However, Anne Wright, chief technology officer of nonprofit RentHelpPGH, said even if there is no immediate spike in eviction filings after the end of a moratorium, there are still hundreds of cases already in the court’s pipeline locally.

Prior to the pandemic, an average of 13,000 eviction cases were filed every year by Allegheny County landlords, typically over about an average of $2,000 owed, according to research from The Pittsburgh Foundation released earlier this year.

To apply for rental and/or utility assistance if you live in Allegheny County, visit https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us/ or call ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021.

If you live outside of Allegheny County,  go to https://www.compass.state.pa.us/