Pennsylvania Courts’ Response to COVID-19

Scott A. Dietterick    February 3, 2021

Governor Tom Wolf previously advised on August 28, 2020 that he did not have the authority to extend his emergency mandate staying all residential foreclosure and evictions in Pennsylvania beyond August 31, 2020 without legislative action. Consequently, the mandate was lifted as of September 1, 2020. To date the Pennsylvania legislature has not acted to re-institute or extend the moratorium.

Pennsylvania residential mortgages not otherwise subject to the FHA/VA/USDA/GSE moratoriums may proceed if first legal was filed prior to the start of the initial Pennsylvania Supreme Court stay of March 16, 2020 (later extended by the Supreme Court and then the governor). If a pre-foreclosure Act 6/91 notice was mailed prior to that date, but first legal was not filed, then the mortgagee cannot proceed to first legal until October 5, 2020 or later without the requirement of new notice. For all other applicable defaults, Act 6/91 notices must be mailed and expire before initiating legal action.

However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court order is still in effect and permits the individual counties to institute stays, delays and online hearings as they deem necessary to deal with the ongoing pandemic. Due to recent surges, several Pennsylvania counties have cancelled or delayed sheriff sales until February 2021 or later. MDK keeps a running record of such court orders. Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) has moved to 100% online sales and other counties are exploring that option due to large backlogs.

tags: Foreclosure, Pennsylvania

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