House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home
Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus August 31, 2020 | 1:08 PM
HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 – Today, House Democrats announced a package of bills to protect people across Pennsylvania as the state’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires. The House Democratic Housing Working Group was formed to help renters, homeowners in debt and small “mom and pop” landlords survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House Democratic Housing Working Group released the following statement and outlined how their legislative proposals will keep people Safe at Home:
“The moratorium is ending, but the virus certainly is not. We will not stand by and watch tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians be pushed out of their homes. The health and economic consequences of the pandemic continue, and with winter just around the corner we are doubly committed to keeping people in their homes. The federal government has failed to act to make sure homeowners, renters and small landlords can maintain their property. Mass foreclosures and evictions would be bad for Pennsylvania: our families and our economy. We are confident the Republican majority in the House sees the crisis as clearly as we do, and we call on Speaker Cutler to join us and expedite consideration of the following bills to keep people Safe At Home.”
The bills in the Safe at Home package include:
- Extend the Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures – House Bill 2836, Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Philadelphia, Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, and Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny: Would give legislative approval granting Gov. Tom Wolf the ability to extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
- Expanding and Protecting the Rent & Mortgage Assistance Program House Bill 2837– Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, and Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.: Would increase funding to the PA Housing Finance Agency to provide more assistance to renters and homeowners, cut down on red tape for applicants and earmark a portion of the funding for smaller, in-state “mom and pop” landlords instead of giant management companies.
- Creating Payment Plans for Renters – House Bill 2838, Sponsored by Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, and Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh: Would allow tenants who fell behind on rent due to COVID-19-related job losses or slowdowns to set up payment plan options with landlords to get back rent paid in a reasonable time.
- Paying The Bills, Not the Late Fees – House Bill 2839, Sponsored by Reps. Madden & Schlossberg: Would make it easier for tenants and mortgage holders who fell behind due to COVID-19-related job losses or slowdowns to get back to good payment standing by waiving late fees on payments.
- Building a Bridge, not an Eviction – House Bill 2840, Sponsored by Reps. Madden & Schlossberg: Would create a landlord-tenant mediation program to make sure both sides are fairly heard and every chance to solve problems is explored before eviction proceedings begin.
- Standing on the Side of Renters – House Bill 2841, Sponsored by Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., Rep. Innamorato & Rep. Cephas: Would ensure low-income renters and homeowners in debt have qualified legal representation in disputes with landlords and management companies.
- Giving People a Fresh Start – House Bill 2382, Sponsored by Rep. Fiedler: Would seal the records of any and all “not for cause” evictions to ensure families don’t have unfair negative records following them as they try to find a place to live.
- Cutting Mortgage Costs & Red Tape – House Bill 2501, Sponsored by Rep. Jim Roebuck, D-Phila., and Rep. Cephas: Would waive all interest and costs associated with homeowners refinancing their loans during any declared disaster emergency.
- Helping Mom & Pop Landlords Serve the Community – House Bill 2623, Sponsored by Rep. Cephas: Would make sure small “mom and pop” landlords who own, manage and, in many cases, live in smaller rental properties get full access to the Home Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
- Protecting Renters Credit Ratings – HB2834, Sponsored by Rep. Innamorato: Would protect people facing job loss or slowdowns during a declared disaster by stopping landlords from being able to report late or unpaid rent to credit reporting agencies.
The House Democrats serving on the statewide Housing Working Group include Fiedler, Cephas, Davis, Innamorato, Kenyatta, Lee, Madden, Schlossberg and Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York.