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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 21-1273




Adoption of Court Action to Reduce Evictions Program; Administrative Order No. 101

[51 Pa.B. 4843]
[Saturday, August 14, 2021]


 And Now, this 2nd day of August, 2021, pursuant to the following August 2, 2021, Order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court specifically authorizing the undersigned to establish and operate the Court Action to Reduce Evictions program, and upon consideration of:

 1. the continuing economic effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including with particular relevance to this order, job losses and the attendant income reduction or elimination for those who have lost employment, many of whom rely on residential rental properties to provide shelter for themselves and their families;

 2. the potential negative impacts upon individuals, families and public health caused by eviction for those who due to the above economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been unable make the timely payments required to maintain their residential rental arrangement;

 3. the pending July 31, 2021, expiration of the CDC Order originally issued on September 1, 2020, and most recently extended on June 24, 2021, which stays all residential evictions for non-payment of rent upon submission of a declaration in compliance with the Order;

 4. the existence of available government funds to assist both tenants facing eviction and landlords whose rental income has been reduced or eliminated due to the combination of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuance on evictions imposed by the CDC Order; and

 5. the valuable work of the Bucks County Emergency Rental Assistance (''BERA'') program and other similar organizations for the benefit of tenants and landlords in both educating the public regarding the availability of government assistance, and securing delivery of funds to satisfy past and ongoing rental obligations in appropriate cases;

 it is Ordered and Decreed that the Court Action to Reduce Evictions program is adopted as follows:

 1. At any time subsequent to commencement of an action for recovery of possession of residential real property for non-payment of rent, any party to the action, or BERA upon consent of a party to the action, may submit a request to the presiding Magisterial District Judge for a continuance of proceedings, which request shall be signed by a representative of BERA and certify that the defendant has applied for emergency rental assistance. Upon receipt by the Magisterial District Judge of such a request, all proceedings, including pending execution on any order of possession, shall be continued for 30 days.

 2. If a request for continuance pursuant to this order is not submitted by or not signed by a representative of BERA, the Magisterial District Judge, if satisfied that a good faith application for rental assistance has been or will be submitted to BERA or another comparable assistance agency, may continue the matter in her or his sole discretion for 30 days.

 3. In the Magisterial District Judge's sole discretion, a continuance pursuant to this order may be extended for an additional 30 days upon request or sua sponte. One such extension of the continuance may be granted; no further extension is permitted. No continuance shall exceed a total of 60 days, and only one continuance pursuant to this order may be imposed in any action.

 4. Should any pending BERA application be denied, withdrawn, or otherwise finally determined in a manner adverse to the applicant during the period of a continuance entered pursuant to this order, the Magisterial District Judge may in her or his discretion terminate the continuance and the action shall proceed.

 5. A continuance pursuant to this order shall be imposed only in actions for recovery of possession of residential real property for non-payment of rent in which an application for rental assistance has been submitted to BERA or another comparable assistance agency. Nothing herein shall be construed to require imposition of a continuance in actions brought for reasons other than non-payment of rent or actions in which no application for rental assistance has been submitted.

 6. A continuance imposed pursuant to this order prior to expiration of the order shall survive the expiration of the order and may be extended as permitted above. Said continuance shall expire 30 or 60 days from imposition as directed herein.

 7. Insofar as any continuance mandated by or otherwise entered pursuant to this order should come into conflict with Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 209 and Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. Nos. 515—519, the operation of said rules is hereby suspended for the duration of this order.

 This order is effective immediately and shall expire on October 31, 2021.

By the Court

President Judge

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-1273. Filed for public inspection August 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]

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