PA Attorney General reminds renters of their rights


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Pennsylvania’s Attorney General is sending a strong reminder to landlords and mortgage lenders statewide that they cannot evict residents from their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Renters and landlords in NEPA are responding to the message.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro wants to make sure tenants in Pennsylvania understand their rights.

“Under a Supreme Court order from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you cannot be evicted from your apartment from your rental property right now during this crisis,” says Shapiro.

In order for Pennsylvanian’s to get back on their feet when the crisis is over– AG Shapiro is also asking landlords to give tenants time beyond what the Supreme Court requires.

“When this is behind us folks are going to need some time to get back up on their feet and get started again. So I wanted to give people a little bit of time after the disaster declaration goes away to be able to get right with their finances and make payments and not fear eviction during that interim time period.”

Local landlords say they understand that money is tight right now– but they have concerns for their own finances as well.

Kingston property owner and landlord Ken Rex says he understands where the Attorney General is coming from.

“It’s nice to forgive the tenants rent and you hope they pay it if they still have their job.”

Gary Lavieri, a landlord in Swoyersville says, “my concern is at the end of three, four, five, six months and someone hasn’t paid rent, it’s going to be very difficult for anybody to dig out of that hole and pay their rent.”

Rex adds, “the big thing is the owner of the building, do they have a bank payment due?”

“I feel bad for everybody including myself, we all have things going on in our lives with this issue with coronavirus and everybody’s struggling,” says Lavieri.

Jermaine Ivey, who rents in Wilkes-Barre says he was supposed to start a new job before non-essential businesses were shut down.

“It kind of put me in a predicament where I can’t pay rent right now,” says Ivey.

“It’s a domino effect, it effects everything from people paying their rent, to landlords paying their mortgage, to landlords paying their bills,” says Lavieri.

Shapiro said his office was getting reports of evictions happening during this coronavirus pandemic.

“We received a few tips from people who were being evicted during this crisis, we stepped in, we stopped that process from occurring and now we want everybody to be on notice,” Shapiro.

Some renters are already brainstorming what to do if and when things get tough.

“That $1,200 that everybody’s supposed to get that everybody’s supposedly supposed to get use that to pay rent,” Ivey.

“You have to understand is the person that owns their building they have bills, the rain tax bills, sewer bills, dike bills, all those bills still come in, and you do need the rent to make those payments,” Rex explains. “This is unprecedented times, we do have to stick together and just pray.”

If you believe that you have been wrongfully evicted from your home or wrongfully had your property foreclosed, you can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General.

No other information to aid landlords financially has been released at this time.

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Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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