Landlord organization takes Pittsburgh to court over eviction moratorium Mar 5, 2021 A landlord organization has filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh City Council over its passage of an eviction moratorium amid the COVID-19 pandemic before it has been signed into law. The Landlord Services Bureau, based in North Huntingdon, claims in the suit that the ordinance passed Tuesday exceeds the powers granted to the city by state law. Under the city’s ordinance, renters who haven’t paid rent because of pandemic-related income loss or medical expenses cannot be evicted. The law also prevents landlords from refusing to renew lease agreements in such situations. Pennsylvania law says municipalities with a home rule charter, such as Pittsburgh, “shall not determine duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon businesses, occupations and employers” except when they are explicitly allowed by written law.” The plaintiffs argue that the city ordinance places responsibilities on property owners that contradict these mandates. “In effect, rental property owners in the City of Pittsburgh are forced to renew rental agreements with tenants, which is contrary to the most basic principles of contract law in that parties cannot be forced to continue contractual relationships,” reads the LSB’s complaint, filed Thursday in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The organization also claims city law violates due process by halting evictions and imposes a “harsh” penalty of up to $10,000 for violating the ordinance. The group, which is made up of more than 4,200 building owners and landlords, is asking the court to declare the ordinance unconstitutional and halt the enforcement of the law. Mayor Bill Peduto on Friday had not yet signed the ordinance. His office declined to comment on the litigation. Currently, there is a federal order in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halting evictions through March 31 due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. There are nearly 30 million to 40 million people at risk of eviction nationwide, according to the Washington, D.C-based nonprofit Aspen Institute.