Governor’s no eviction order does not apply to commercial properties


HANOVER, Pa. (WHTM) — David Yaakov owns a commercial property in York County. He reached out to the abc27 Investigators to see if Governor Tom Wolf’s No Eviction Order applied to him.

Commercial property is real estate property that is used for business activities.

“People like me are suffering big time, when it’s not really made out for us,” said David Yaakov, property owner.

Before the pandemic started, Yaakov won two judgments against the tenant renting his commercial property for more than 14 thousand dollars in unpaid rent. Yaakov says the tenant was running an automotive repair shop out of the building.

While he was in the process of getting the tenant evicted, the coronavirus hit.

On May 7, Governor Wolf signed an executive order protecting Pennsylvanians from evictions through July 10.

“Now I am stuck in a position where I cant do anything,” said Yaakov.

Yaakov says the tenant was causing damage to his property and police could not remove the tenant without an Order for Possession from a judge to finish the eviction process. He says when he reached out to lawyers and the courts for help he got the same response.

“Our hands are completely tied with this order. It is such a vague order,” said Yaakov.

The abc27 Investigators reached out to the Governor’s Office and the PA Attorney General for clarification.

According to Governor’s office, “The governor’s executive order applies only to residential properties. Individuals involved in commercial property actions would need to seek relief through the established judicial processes.”

The Attorney General’s office said the executive order “does not apply” to commercial properties.

Abc27 also checked with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts which said “There is nothing in a Supreme Court order to stop the eviction.”

abc27 emailed the District Justice handling the case and provided him with the information we were able to confirm. The Judge moved the case forward and issued the Order for Possesion.

“The tenant has already been served,” said Yaakov. “I called so many people and tried so many avenues. I had road blocks everywhere no matter what I did. The best call I made was to you guys. I can’t thank you enough.”

The tenant now has ten days to vacate the property

After abc27 reached out to the Governor’s Office, the Governor modified his executive order to specify that it only applies to evictions and foreclosures enacted due to lack of payment or because a tenant has overstayed a lease.

“I am protecting housing for Pennsylvanians who may be facing economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “My order will not affect proceedings for other issues, such as property damage or illegal activity. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to continue abiding by the terms of their lease or mortgage.”

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