PAA Advocacy & Legislative Update April 16th, 2021
National Update CDC Moratorium – Updated FAQs The National Apartment Association has provided updated their FAQs regarding the federal eviction moratorium. You can see the full FAQ document here.
Important points for landlords from the order (in summary):
The order temporarily halts residential evictions for nonpayment of rent through June 30,2021.
The FAQ makes it clear that the rent still must be paid, rent is not forgiven.
Covered persons may use a written statement in place of the declaration form or use a form translated into other languages.
Housing providers may maintain the ability to move forward with eviction for lawful reasons other than nonpayment of rent but may have to take COVID-19 into consideration if the resident has been exposed and ordered to quarantine.
The FAQs make clear how the federal government intends to enforce the Order.
State Update Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) PAA has been receiving concerns regarding the implementation of the Rental Assistance program throughout the Commonwealth. We have been relaying those concerns to the Wolf Administration as well as the Pennsylvania legislature.
In a recent meeting, it was clarified for us that counties who received direct funding from the federal government do not have to follow the same restrictions as counties who received funding through the state. The counties who received direct funding are only beholden to the federal statute.
PAA recognizes the challenges this creates for our members. We will be working on a strategy to implement some changes. If you would like to share your challenges with the program, please send an email to either Andre Del Valle at email@example.com or Leah Sailhamer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Local News
Rental Screening Councilmember Brooks introduced a package of two bills entitled the Renters' Access Act. The first bill is an amendment to the "Unlawful Housing and Real Property Practices" section of the Fair Practices Ordinance that would require landlords to provide (1) uniform, written rental screening criteria to prospective tenants; and (2) when an application for rental is denied, a written statement of reasons for that denial, including any third-party reports used in making the rental decision. The second bill would create a new section of the Fair Housing Ordinance, regulating tenant screening practices in a few ways:
Prohibiting blanket exclusions of people with eviction records, or based solely on a credit score;
Prohibiting a landlord from denying a rental application based on (1) failure to pay rent or utility bills during the COVID-19 emergency period, and (2) certain kinds of eviction records; and
Providing prospective tenants whose rental applications are denied the opportunity to dispute incorrect information or provide evidence of mitigating circumstances.
We are working to set up meetings with the bill sponsor and the committee members to share our concerns with this legislation and welcome any feedback you may have.
Marijuana Testing Councilmember Green held Bill No 200625 and will be looking to pass the legislation on Thursday April 22, 2021 given the Mayors Budget address being held today. This bill would prohibit employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment.
The bill does have some exemptions which I have listed here: Police officer or other law enforcement positions; any position requiring a commercial driver’s license; Any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled or other vulnerable individuals; Any position in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public.
This legislation shall not apply to drug testing required by any federal or state statute, regulation, or order that requires drug testing of prospective employees for purposes of safety or security. (b) Any contract between the federal government and an employer or any grant of financial assistance from the federal government to an employer that requires drug testing of prospective employees as a condition of receiving the contract or grant; or (c) Any applicants whose prospective employer is a party to a valid collective bargaining agreement that specifically addresses the pre-employment drug testing of such applicants.
Bed Bugs Briefing Councilmember Gilmore Richardson, Domb, Squilla, and Green held a briefing this week in regards to Bed bugs and Licenses and Inspections provided links for landlords with brochures on responsibilities which can be found here.
Emergency Rental Assistance is now live for tenants! Philadelphia’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program is live for both landlords and tenants to apply. We continue to urge landlords to create a login as well so when your tenants apply your information self-aggregates on their application which includes payment information to ensure the payments go directly to you the landlord! If you have need any assistance with this program please click here or call 215-320-7880.
Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Rental Assistance Program information can be found here.
PGH City Council voted this week to extend the Emergency Declaration to May 11, 2021. Given the federal moratorium is set expire June 30, 2021, we may see Pittsburgh extend the declaration to meet or even surpass that expiration date. We will continue to monitor this extension as the Pittsburgh Moratorium expires based on the City declaration. This summary has been provided by the PAA Government Affairs team. It is not an official legal opinion or legal advice. We would recommend seeking legal advice from an attorney.