Eviction moratorium extended in York County as thousands of court cases remain

Brandon Addeo
York Dispatch
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, housing activists erect a sign in Swampscott, Mass. A federal freeze on most evictions is set to expire soon. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, was the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Tenants involved in thousands of recently filed York County eviction cases now have more time. 

On Tuesday, the CDC extended the nationwide eviction moratorium to Oct. 3, after the previous nationwide moratorium expired last Saturday.

President Joe Biden said that the new moratorium could be struck down by the courts due to executive overreach, The New York Times reported, but his administration still followed through after previously asserting he didn't have the power to reinstate the moratorium.

More:CDC: York County residents should mask up indoors, even those who are fully vaccinated

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky cited the emergence of the COVID-19 delta variant and it's "rapid" spread nationwide as justification for the new moratorium. 

“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Such mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse.”

More:Pandemic eviction crisis leads to greater tenant protections

The new moratorium is only for counties with "substantial or high" levels of COVID-19 transmission. York County and 27 other Pennsylvania counties have substantial transmission, while Crawford County is the only one with high transmission levels, according to CDC data

This CDC map shows Pennsylvania counties' level of COVID-19 transmission. York County, on the state's southeastern border and highlighted in grey, is at the second-highest level: Orange or "substantial" transmission.

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Court cases: While the previous federal eviction moratorium that went into effect in September 2020 barred tenants from actually being evicted, landlords continued to file new cases, data shows. 

York County's 19 magisterial district courts had 3,861 new cases filed between July 2020 and June 2021, according to preliminary data from the state.

More:York County landlords filed thousands of new eviction cases during pandemic

Data also shows that judges were issuing rulings on eviction cases during the pandemic, and that thousands could be facing eviction in York County.

Slightly more than 3,800 eviction cases were resolved in court between July 2020 and June 2021.

Of those, a judge ruled in favor of the landlord in 2,924 cases; for the tenant in 40 cases; 141 cases were dismissed by a judge; 464 cases were settled between a landlord and tenant prior to a judge's ruling; and 248 cases were voluntarily withdrawn by the landlord, according to data from the state. 

It's not clear if any tenants in the county were evicted Monday or Tuesday before the new moratorium went into effect.