By: Alisa N. Carr, Esq.
On February 23, 2021, Pittsburgh City Council members introduced Ordinance 2021-1237 which would temporarily halt residential evictions in the City of Pittsburgh for tenants who: (1) fail to pay rent and/or (2) fail to vacate a residential apartment unit when the Lease term ends if the Tenant provides the Landlord an Affidavit similar to the one currently required by the CDC. If passed, this Ordinance would only expire when the City’s Disaster Emergency Declaration is lifted or by City Council legislative termination, whichever is sooner. A copy of the draft Ordinance is linked above; a summary is below.
At present this Ordinance is still in committee and its contents may change – if and when it becomes law, Leech Tishman will follow up with the final version, a summary of the contents and practical guidance regarding the Ordinance and the $9M in Pittsburgh CARES relief funds available for landlords and tenants.
Purpose: is to impose a temporary and limited regulation on the right to pursue eviction relief against residential tenants and supplements state and federal law.
Applies to residential tenants only (who submit an Affidavit, as described below).
Tenant Affidavit: A Tenant must submit a signed written statement that: (1) said tenant has lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) sets forth facts that provide an explanation of the COVID-19 financial hardship suffered, and (3) how such hardship has rendered timely payment of rent impracticable.
- This Affidavit is a defense to the remedy of eviction specifically and exclusively for non-payment of rent
- This defense shall act to prevent the advancement of the remedy of eviction against a tenant for non-payment of rent
- This section shall not be construed to limit any other rights or remedies available to a landlord at law or equity
- Does not impact a landlords’ ability to obtain a judgment for contract damages or absolve tenants of any obligation to pay any amount of rent
A landlord may not:
- Take action to cause the eviction of an individual or household for non-payment due to substantial loss of household income or hours of work or wages due to loss of employment and/or medical expenses (both those that are COVID-19 related illnesses and pre-existing illnesses). Non-payment failure also includes late fees, penalties, or interest due to the aforementioned reasons.
- Refuse to renew a lease or terminate a lease due to non-payment or lease term violation.
Exception: Nothing herein shall preclude eviction, refusal to renew a lease or terminate a lease, except for conduct that presents an imminent threat to the health or safety of other residents, inhabitants or property staff including criminal activity in the unit or housing premises, engaging in actions or behaviors that threaten the health or safety of other residents and violating any applicable building code or health ordinance relating to health and safety.
Penalties: Violation of this Chapter shall be subject to a summary offence which may lead to a fine of up to $10,000.
Term: This Chapter 782 shall expire upon termination of the City’s Disaster Emergency Declaration or by City Council legislative termination, whichever is sooner.
If you have questions contact Alisa N. Carr. Alisa is a Partner in Leech Tishman’s Litigation, Real Estate and Energy Practice Groups and represents residential and commercial landlords. Alisa is based in the Pittsburgh office and can be reached at 412.261.1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, aviation & aerospace, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, cannabis, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, estates & trusts, family law, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage, intellectual property, internal investigations, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota and Wilmington, DE.