Landlord-tenant cases inch up as eviction curbs end

Ebony Long, of Perry North, received an eviction filing in November. Her landlord won the right to eject her, but she has appealed to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

by Rich Lord, PublicSource

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark’s petition to extend eviction curbs through November. Landlord-tenant cases in the county are proceeding under pre-pandemic timelines.

Landlords in Allegheny County filed 542 cases seeking the evictions of tenants in October, which is the second-highest total in the last year but still only around half of pre-pandemic norms.

The filings come as district judges – who rule on eviction requests – wait to learn definitively whether there will be an extension of an emergency order that had slowed many landlord-tenant cases.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to allow an extension, through Nov. 30, of pandemic-driven eviction curbs. The judge had allowed district judges to postpone decisions on eviction requests in cases in which the tenant was awaiting aid from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The temporary procedures, which expired Oct. 31, had not barred the eviction of tenants who did not apply for rental assistance, or whose lease terms had expired or who were accused of other violations of their leases.

The Supreme Court has not posted a decision on Clark’s request for an extension.

District Judge Richard King, president of the Allegheny County Special Court Judges, confirmed that his colleagues in the minor judiciary were processing evictions under pre-pandemic rules, pending word from the Supreme Court. But he said he saw no signs of mass displacement.

“Are there going to be some evictions? Yes. But it’s not a tidal wave,” he said. The reason? Most landlords, he said, seem to be content to wait until the Emergency Rental Assistance Program payments come through.

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