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Housing and Homeownership

Legal Information
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This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Housing and Homeownership issues in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

Frequently Asked Questions - Making Home Affordable Program

FAQ on the Making Home Affordable Program which offers two different potential solutions for borrowers: (1) refinancing mortgage loans, through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), and (2) modifying mortgage loans, through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Get Answers - Mortgage Assistance from Making Home Affordable

Information from Federal Making Homes Affordable Program about how to get mortgage assistance.

Making Home Affordable.gov

This website provides homeowners with detailed information about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), along with self-assessment tools and calculators to empower borrowers with the resources they need to determine whether they might be eligible for a modification or a refinance under the Obama Administration's program. Through this website, borrowers can also connect with free counseling resources and access other useful tools and information.

Making Home Affordable (Video)

Video about the Making Home Affordable program of the U.S. Government. For more information on the Making Home Affordable program, and to see if you quality, visit http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov or contact the Homeowners HOPE Hotline at (888) 995-HOPE.

SeniorLAW Helpline - 877 PA SR LAW (1-877-727-7529)

The statewide toll-free SeniorLAW Helpline - 877 PA SR LAW (877-727-7529) - provides free legal advice, information and referrals by telephone for all Pennsylvania seniors 60 and over.

Quiet Title Packet (Fraudulent Conveyance)

Information and Forms to bring a Quiet Title action in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. This type of action establishs a party's title to real property against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiets" any challenges or claims to the title. [PDF]

Buying a Home

Consumer information pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. [PDF]

Buying a Home

Information from Erie County Bar Association on the basic steps involved in buying a home.

Land Contracts

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on land contracts - installment sale agreements for the sale of real estate.

Land Disputes with Neighbors

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on common land disputes between neighbors.

Selling a Home

Information from the Erie County Bar Association you should know when planning to sell your home.

Shared Ownership of Land

Information on the shared ownership of land from the Erie County Bar Association.

Living Trusts

This publication from the Erie County Bar Association outlines what a living trust is, who needs one, advantages and disadvantages of having one, as well as myths and scams involving living trusts. (February 2019)

Zoning

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on zoning laws that might affect your home or neighborhood.

Area Agencies on Aging

Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is the front door for aging services in your community. Your AAA is staffed with skilled workers who can provide information about services and also assist in obtaining access to those services. Use this finder to locate the specific Area Agency on Aging that covers your county.

Buying a Home

Information and tips from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities on buying a home. [PDF]

Shopping for a Mortgage

Information from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities on shopping for a mortgage to finance or re-finance your home. [PDF]

Homeowners Insurance

Information and resources from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to help answer your questions and help you understand your options regarding Homeowners Insurance.

PA Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program

Overview of programs from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue including information on property tax relief; rebate estimate calculator; commonly asked questions; as well as downloadable forms and instruction booklet. Claimants or spouses 65 years of age or older; widows or widowers 50 years of age or older; and permanently disabled 18 years of age or older may qualify.

About Reverse Mortgages for Seniors (HECM- Home Equity Conversion Mortgages)

If you are a homeowner age 62 or older and have paid off your mortgage or paid down a considerable amount, and are currently living in the home, you may participate in FHA's Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. This is information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on HECM, FHA's reverse mortgage program that enables you to withdraw a portion of your home's equity.

FHA Reverse Mortgages (HECMs) for Seniors

Information about the FHA's Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. The HECM is FHA's reverse mortgage program that enables you to withdraw a portion of your home's equity.

Reverse Mortgages: Are They for You?

This Consumer Advisory, issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is designed to help you better understand reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages are complex loans and are secured by your home. It is important to understand the terms, risks, and costs before you sign a reverse mortgage contract. Make sure to consider alternatives to reverse mortgages.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

If you are a homeowner age 62 or older looking for money to supplement your retirement income, pay for medical expenses or home improvements, pay off your current mortgage or buy a new home, you may be considering a reverse mortgage. Here is some information about Reverse Mortgages from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. [PDF]

Deceptive Home Improvement Contractors Complaints

Information for home owners with HUD insured loans on avoiding deceptive home improvement contractors and how to file a complaint if you are a victim of fraud or abuse by a contractor.

Homeowners Energy Efficiency Loan Program (HEELP)

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency provides the Homeowners Energy Efficiency Loan Program (HEELP) that offers loans between $1,000 and $10,000 for specific energy efficiency repairs at a fixed-rate of one percent (1%) for ten years with no prepayment penalties.

Avoiding Foreclosure

Information from HUD on programs that can help property owners avoid losing their homes because of delinquent payments.

Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program Counseling Agencies

Listing of Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) Counseling Agencies. Counseling agencies prepare applications and forward information to PHFA for processing. [PDF]

Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP)

Information on the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. This is a unique loan program designed to protect citizens who, through no fault of their own, are financially unable to make their mortgage payments and are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.

HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Pennsylvania

HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, credit issues, and reverse mortgages. A list of agencies in Pennsylvania is provided here.

Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure

Tips from HUD on how to avoid foreclosure of your home.

CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know (Video)

If you are experiencing difficulty making on-time mortgage payments due to the national coronavirus emergency, forbearance may be an option for you. Learn more in this video from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

PA Courts Public Access Policy - Filing Requirements in the Courts (Video)

Effective on January 6, 2018, a new Public Access Policy is in effect in Pennsylvania Courts. This policy imposes requirements on anyone filing court documents in the trial and appellate courts to safeguard information in the documents they file. The Pennsylvania Courts have released this series of videos that explain the judiciary’s new policy for protecting confidential information and the required steps you must take to protect that information when filing documents in the courts.

Predatory Lending

Information from HUD on predatory lending and what you can do to protect yourself.

Reverse Mortgages: Know Before You Owe (Video)

This video from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides an overview of reverse mortgages for older consumers and their families. You’ll learn how reverse mortgages work and what issues you should consider before applying for one.

Figuring Out FEMA

“Figuring Out FEMA,” a pocket-sized visual resource for disaster survivors. The guide makes complex information about the Federal Emergency Management Agency accessible to people who need the assistance of the agency.

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