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Home Ownership

Legal Information
Family in front of home.

This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Home Ownership issues in Pennsylvania.

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

Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF)

The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund, or PAHAF, is a housing-related program funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to assist Pennsylvania homeowners facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic that began after January 21, 2020, (including a hardship that began before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date). The program will provide financial assistance to homeowners for qualified mortgage and housing-related expenses to address delinquency and avoid default, foreclosure, or displacement.

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.

Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF)

The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund, or PAHAF, is a housing-related program funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to assist Pennsylvania homeowners facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic that began after January 21, 2020, (including a hardship that began before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date). The program will provide financial assistance to homeowners for qualified mortgage and housing-related expenses to address delinquency and avoid default, foreclosure, or displacement.

Save Your Home Philly Hotline

For help with home mortgages, sheriff sales, tangled titles, or mediation scheduled through the Eviction Diversion program call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-HOME (4663) between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Outside of these hours, callers can leave a message and get a call back from a housing advocate. The Hotline provides advice, brief service, and connects thousands of callers to housing counselors each year. More information at the link.

Save Your Home Philly Hotline

For help with home mortgages, sheriff sales, tangled titles, or mediation scheduled through the Eviction Diversion program call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-HOME (4663) between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Outside of these hours, callers can leave a message and get a call back from a housing advocate. The Hotline provides advice, brief service, and connects thousands of callers to housing counselors each year. More information at the link.

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]

Federal Court Finder

Find a federal court location by location or court name, including appellate, district, bankruptcy, probation and pretrial office, or federal defender organization. Each District Court has its own local forms which are generally available on the Court website.

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.

Shared Ownership of Land

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

Selling a Home

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

Land Disputes with Neighbors

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

Zoning

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

Mortgage and Housing Assistance during the Coronavirus National Emergency

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have partnered to launch a new mortgage and housing assistance website to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic. The page provides information on what to do now, and what your options are for mortgage and rent payment relief.

Buying a Home

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

Buying A Home - HUD

The homebuying process can seem complicated, but if you take things step-by-step, you will soon be holding the keys to your own home! The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides these nine steps to buying a home.

Homeowners Insurance

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

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]

Does HUD Owe You a Refund?

Information and Fact Sheet regarding insured mortgages and whether you may be eligible for a HUD refund or share of any excess earnings from the FHA's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Fact Sheet also available in PDF

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.

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.

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.

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]

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.

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.

Housing Counseling Agencies in Philadelphia

List of more than 30 housing counseling agencies that offer free counseling services to home owneres and buyers of homes in the City of Philadelphia. Eligibility requirements apply.

HUD Home Buyer's Kit

This kit offers information on each stage of finding and buying your own home.

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.

What is Debt-To-Income Ratio and why does it matter? (Video)

If you’re looking into buying a house, you’ve probably been hearing a lot of new phrases like debt-to-income ratio or DTI. The CFPB can help you navigate the home buying process and understand any new financial terms you encounter along the way.

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.

Get Help with Philadelphia Property Taxes

Philadelphia released new assessments of property values, which they will use to calculate 2023 property tax bills. If your assessed value went up, your property taxes will, too. Community Legal Services has information on how to appeal your assessment (and the amount of your property taxes), and find programs to help you with payments. 

Resolving Tangle Title Issues

You may have a tangled title if you live in a house that you think you own and take care of, because you inherited it, but your name is not on the deed. It may also occur if you got the home are under a "rent-to-own" or "land contract" arrangement, or in some other way, and the deed is not in your name. Community Legal Services of Philadelphia offers information on how to deal with these issues that apply to situations both in Philadelphia and in other communities.

Coronavirus: Protections for Homeowners

Information on protections for all homeowners in Pennsylvania affected by COVID-19 from Regional Housing Legal Services.

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