Tag Archives: David Augustin

COVID-19: Philadelphia Extends Residential Eviction Moratorium through March 15, 2021

As of 7-31-20, Philadelphia City officials have extended the City’s residential eviction moratorium in Philadelphia until March 15, 2021.

According to reporting from CBS 3, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) said it wants the city’s 80,000 low-income residents who have been “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic to be assured their housing will not be a concern for the rest of the uncertainty.

“The federal eviction moratorium expires this week. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has extended it to the end of August, while the Congress and the Trump Administration debate another extension. I wanted to take bold action in this regard, to maintain housing stability for our residents,” PHA President Kelvin Jeremiah said.

According to Jeremiah, the moratorium applies only to “matters involving the nonpayment of rent and related fees,” but doesn’t apply to evictions related to health and safety.

The moratorium does not forgive nonpayment of rent and fees during the period, the PHA said, and tenants remain responsible for rent under the terms of their lease agreement.

Philadelphians who cannot pay their rent or have a financial hardship are urged to apply for a PHA Hardship Waiver or look into payment plans.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, David Augustin or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

 

COVID-19: PA issues Executive Order extending Residential Evictions and Foreclosures Moratorium until August 31, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf signed a new executive order earlier today, July 15, 2020, extending the moratorium on residential evictions and foreclosures until Aug. 31.

This Order follows a previous moratorium extension, but now only applies if the renters or homeowners have not already received assistance from a new program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) or are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders.

Lenders and property owners that receive funds through the PHFA program must agree not pursue foreclosure or eviction actions as a condition of participation in the program. The governor signed legislation in May providing $150 million for rental assistance and $25 million for mortgage assistance through PHFA with CARES Act funds. PHFA began accepting applications July 6.

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Housing Finance Agency, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have each extended eviction and foreclosure protections for housing under their authority to Aug. 31.

In terms of the applying of the Order, it states:

The provisions of this Order and the suspension of the Acts under this Order apply only to matters involving the nonpayment of monies as well as to those proceedings related to removal of any tenant solely because the tenant has held over or exceeded the term of a lease. The Order does not apply to suspend notice requirements relating to evictions for breaches of any other covenants.

This Order does not treat nonpayment of monies during this period as forgiven and individuals are still responsible for any rent or monies owed under the terms of the mortgage or lease agreement.

Therefore, in almost all circumstances, renters and homeowners are still required to make monthly payments if they can. Also, importantly, the governor’s Order does not apply to proceedings regarding property damage or illegal activity.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: Philadelphia follows PA lead and Begins Re-Opening Process for Restaurants effective May 26, 2020; Lifts Stay at Home Order effective June 5th

As of May 26, 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney amended his earlier business closure and stay-at-home orders and will now permit up to 10 people to line up to order at restaurants and food establishments. Dine-in service is still prohibited, and face coverings and social distancing guidelines are required.

The amendment follows Gov. Tom Wolf’s announced plans last week to move all Pennsylvania counties, including the five-county Philadelphia region, to the yellow phase of reopening and lift stay-at-home orders by June 5.

The yellow phase calls for telework to continue where possible, but allows for businesses to reopen with social distancing and other health and safety guidelines in place. Schools remain closed for in-person instruction, as does indoor recreation, gyms, health and fitness centers and entertainment venues. The yellow phase also allows for the reopening of in-person retail.

A copy of Mayor Kenney’s Order can be found here – Business closure revision 5-26

Philadelphia has begun to relax restrictions on restaurants and food vendors, recently permitting the sale of to-go cocktails.

The City of Philadelphia will release guidance and planning for business re-openings later this week.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, and Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

 

COVID-19: PA permits reopening of Real Estate Businesses per Published Guidelines

On May 19th, Governor Tom Wolf announced that businesses and employees in the real estate industry may conduct limited business-related activities statewide and provided guidance for this industry to operate in red phase and yellow phase counties.

Previously, businesses and employees in the real estate industry were permitted to conduct limited in-person activities in counties in the yellow phase of the commonwealth’s phased reopening plan.

The real estate guidance https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200519-Real-Estate-Guidance.pdf requires businesses and employees to follow all applicable provisions of the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, which includes provisions requiring that every person present at a work site, business location, or property offered for sale, wear masks/face coverings, and provisions requiring the establishment of protocols for execution upon discovery that the business has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.

All in-person activities are supposed to be scheduled and limited to no more than the real estate professional and 2 people inside a property at any time, exercising appropriate social distancing.

When conducting settlements/closings the guidance suggests utilizing remote notary, powers of attorney or the exchange of contract documents electronically or by mail wherever possible. Where it is not possible to conduct settlement/ closing via remote notary or POA, attendance in-person is required to be limited to required signatories and their legal counsel or real estate professional only, and steps to preserve social distancing must be followed to the maximum extent possible.

Businesses and employees are also encouraged to provide sellers with relevant safety information and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing properties; utilize electronic marketing as much as possible; provide all individuals at an in-person activity with a verbal health screening; stagger scheduling of property showings; avoid physical contact with the property by staging in advance to prevent the need for interaction with items like lights, interior doors, drapes and blinds; and minimize time spent in the property by having discussions away from the property via remote means.

The Governor also vetoed House Bill 2412, stating that the Bill did not provide enough safety protocols for the COVID-19 public health crisis. Further, the legislation would have placed restrictions on municipalities related to property transfers; specifically, it would have eliminated a municipality’s ability to issue use and occupancy permits and conduct safety inspections, which are conditions of a property transfer.

To read the Governor’s Order – https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200519-TWW-Business-Closure-Amendment.pdf

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, and Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA Plan now allows re-opening of Construction, Vehicle Dealerships and Real Estate Industry per recent Executive Orders

While Governor Wolf extended the “Stay at Home” order until June 4, 2020 by Amendment to his earlier order, he also updated guidance on opening businesses in PA.  As you are likely aware, PA is employing a regional and industry-specific approach to reopening “non-life-sustaining” businesses.

In counties that have been designated as in the Red Phase, businesses permitted to conduct in-person operations are:

1) those listed as life sustaining according to the Governor’s and Secretary’s Non-Life Sustaining Business Closure Orders (as amended),
2) those that received an exemption from those Orders from the Department of Community and Economic Development, or
3) those permitted to conduct in-person operations pursuant to a subsequent applicable Order or amendment to those Orders from the Governor and Secretary including:

a. Construction Industry;
b. Vehicle Dealerships; and
c. Real Estate Industry.

In counties that have been designated as in the Yellow Phase, all businesses, except those categories specifically excluded in the Governor’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania and the Governor’s and Secretary of Health’s orders, are permitted to conduct in-person operations, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance.

In counties that have been designated as in the Green Phase, all businesses (including those restricted or prohibited in the Yellow Phase) are authorized to conduct unrestricted in-person operations as long as the businesses follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

 

COVID-19: PA Extends Eviction and Moratorium Protections through July 10th for Residential Transactions

Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Attorney General Josh Shapiro to announce that he signed an executive order that protects Pennsylvanians from foreclosures or evictions through July 10. The action builds on a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order which closed court eviction proceedings until May 11 and ensures no renter or homeowner will be removed from their home for 60 more days.

“At a time when people need to stay home to protect their heath, they should not have to worry about losing their homes,” said Governor Wolf. “Ensuring that people can remain in their homes will help them to better protect their loved ones. It gives families the comfort of knowing they will have a place to live while all of us work together to fight COVID-19 and prepare to move Pennsylvania forward.”

In almost all circumstances, renters and homeowners are required to continue making monthly payments.

The Wolf Administration provided recommendations last week to stem foreclosures, evictions and help people experiencing homelessness. The Department of Human Services activated the Commonwealth’s Sheltering Taskforce and is working with local and state partners to coordinate resources for people without housing. The Department of Community and Economic Development is also accepting applications for Emergency Solutions Grants to assist with the rapid rehousing of people experiencing homelessness, street outreach, homelessness prevention, and emergency shelter activities.

PHFA is also taking action to help homeowners and renters. The agency has stopped foreclosures and evictions and is offering forbearances with late fee waivers to homeowners with a PHFA mortgage who are experiencing a financial hardship because of COVID-19. PHFA also developed a list of renters’ rights and responsibilities to clarify the situation for apartment residents and is working with landlords and property managers to distribute it to renters. PHFA is also encouraging Low-Income Housing Tax Credit building managers to be flexible on rent payments and to waive late fees for tenants whose employment has been affected by the crisis. 

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!