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Courts & Justice

Eviction protections in Allegheny County Courts will end

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Kiley Koscinski
/
90.5 WESA
Protestors had called for more protections for renters during the pandemic.

Eviction protections that had been in place will end in Allegheny County courts after Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court denied a request from the county’s President Judge to continue the measures.

Last week, Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark had asked the state Supreme Court to extend the protections for another month. Her order had not halted all evictions but had given renters who are behind more time to apply for and receive rental aid by continuing cases where there was a reasonable likelihood renters would be approved for assistance. The state Supreme Court denied her request Monday.

A number of local progressive groups and elected officials last week had called for the protections to be extended.

In her petition to the court, Judge Clark had 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. More than 19,000 Allegheny County households have applied for program; about 38 percent have received a payment. The program is still open, and applications are still being accepted.

Andre Del Valle, director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Apartment Association, said his organization has been encouraging landlords to apply for the aid.

“We've been encouraging landlords to continue to message and get out the fact that there's all this emergency rental assistance money out there that is really a benefit for both the landlords and tenants,” he said.

District Judge Richard King, who hears landlord-tenant cases in many south Pittsburgh neighborhoods, said he believes district judges will still grant continuances for landlords and renters who have applied for rental assistance.

“We’re all very cognizant of the program, and it works,” he said Monday.

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/