Madden supports governor's plan to keep renters, homeowners safe during COVID-19 pandemic
HARRISBURG, Sept. 1 -- State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, joined Gov. Tom Wolf and fellow lawmakers at a news conference today to advocate for a Safe At Home package of bills designed to protect people in Monroe County and across Pennsylvania from evictions and home foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wolf called on the General Assembly to take legislative action to keep renters and homeowners in their homes.
Madden, who provided remarks at the news conference, said no one should have to worry about losing the roof over their head during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were in a housing crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Madden said. “All the virus has done is stripped away the façade and exposed the crumbling beams. Now, one in five renters and homeowners cannot make their monthly payments. Think about it. How many people live on your street? Now think about every fifth house empty. We must act now.”
The bills in the Safe at Home package include:
- Extend the Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures – House Bill 2836, Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Philadelphia, Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, and Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny: Would give legislative approval granting Gov. Tom Wolf the ability to extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
- Expanding and Protecting the Rent & Mortgage Assistance Program House Bill 2837– Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, and Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.: Would increase funding to the PA Housing Finance Agency to provide more assistance to renters and homeowners, cut down on red tape for applicants and earmark a portion of the funding for smaller, in-state “mom and pop” landlords instead of giant management companies.
- Creating Payment Plans for Renters – House Bill 2838, Sponsored by Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, and Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh: Would allow tenants who fell behind on rent due to COVID-19-related job losses or slowdowns to set up payment plan options with landlords to get back rent paid in a reasonable time.
- Paying The Bills, Not the Late Fees – House Bill 2839, Sponsored by Reps. Madden & Schlossberg: Would make it easier for tenants and mortgage holders who fell behind due to COVID-19-related job losses or slowdowns to get back to good payment standing by waiving late fees on payments.
- Building a Bridge, not an Eviction – House Bill 2840, Sponsored by Reps. Madden & Schlossberg: Would create a landlord-tenant mediation program to make sure both sides are fairly heard and every chance to solve problems is explored before eviction proceedings begin.
- Standing on the Side of Renters – House Bill 2841, Sponsored by Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., Rep. Innamorato & Rep. Cephas: Would ensure low-income renters and homeowners in debt have qualified legal representation in disputes with landlords and management companies.
- Giving People a Fresh Start – House Bill 2382, Sponsored by Rep. Fiedler: Would seal the records of any and all “not for cause” evictions and foreclosures to ensure families don’t have unfair negative records following them as they try to find a place to live.
- Cutting Mortgage Costs & Red Tape – House Bill 2501, Sponsored by Rep. Jim Roebuck, D-Phila., and Rep. Cephas: Would waive all interest and costs associated with homeowners refinancing their loans during any declared disaster emergency.
- Helping Mom & Pop Landlords Serve the Community – House Bill 2623, Sponsored by Rep. Cephas: Would make sure small “mom and pop” landlords who own, manage and, in many cases, live in smaller rental properties get full access to the Home Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
- Protecting Renters Credit Ratings – HB2834, Sponsored by Rep. Innamorato: Would protect people facing job loss or slowdowns during a declared disaster by stopping landlords from being able to report late or unpaid rent to credit reporting agencies.