We respect your privacy. If you're new to Pennsylvania, you may be surprised to find that there aren't as many landlord-tenant laws here as there are in other states.
Top 9 Landlord Legal Responsibilities in Pennsylvania
However, in addition to the terms of your lease, and federal and local law, there are a number of state laws designed to guide the landlord-tenant relationship. Read on to learn more about Pennsylvania tenant rights laws. In addition to state and federal laws protecting you against discrimination based on characteristics like race, religion, or national origin, Pennsylvania has strict guidelines for handling security deposits.
For example, your landlord may not charge you more than the equivalent of two months' rent for the first year of your lease, and not more than one months' rent for subsequent years. Your landlord is also required to give you proper notice before deciding not to renew your lease, or to evict you for failing to pay rent or breaking your lease agreement. And during your tenancy, you have a right to safe and sanitary conditions under the implied warranty of habitability. Finally, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against you, for example by raising your rent or threatening to evict you, simply because you exercised a tenant right or complained to a government agency.
The chart below provides a summary of Pennsylvania state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to important code sections. You may be held responsible for damages that you caused. You should take pictures of the property before leaving as a way of proving in what condition you left it. You should also return the keys to the landlord and ask for written proof that you returned the keys and left a forwarding address.
The landlord must, within 30 days from the date you move out return the security deposit, or send you a list of damages the landlord says you caused in the apartment, the cost of repairs, plus any extra money left over from the security deposit. The landlord is allowed to keep one percent per year of your deposit as administrative expenses. In either case, the district justice will set a hearing date and you should show up prepared to show that the rent was paid by showing receipts and that the keys and the written forwarding address were given to the landlord when you moved out.
Uh, oh. Eviction The landlord can evict you if the rental term of your written or oral lease is over, or you are behind in your rent, or if you have violated some clause in the lease. The landlord needs no reason to evict you if you were given proper notice at the end of the term. The legal method for a landlord to evict a tenant is The Eviction Notice.
- Home Sweet Home.
- Online Lease.
- Warranty of Habitability.
- Mold: A Nightmare a Landlord Must Not Hide From;
- wi public court records online free.
The landlord must give you written notice of the reason for the eviction and the date the landlord wants you to leave. Caution: if you have a written lease, read it carefully to see whether you have given up the right to receive this eviction notice. The eviction notice should be personally delivered to you or posted on the dwelling, not sent in the mail. A written lease might say how many days notice must be given by the landlord before the landlord can evict.
If the lease does not state how notice is required, the general rule is: If the term has ended, or if the landlord claims you have breached the lease, the landlord must give you 15 days notice if the lease is for less than one year and 30 days notice if the lease is one year or more. If you are behind in the rent, the landlord needs to give only 10 days notice. Complaint The landlord files a complaint with the district justice.
A constable serves a copy of the complaint or tapes it to your door. You also get a copy in the mail. The complaint always requests possession of the property and may ask for back rent or damages as well. Both the complaints will be heard at the same time. The Hearing At the hearing, both you and the landlord present your case. You may hire a lawyer to help you. You may bring papers, pictures, other evidence or witnesses to support your case. If the landlord wins the case, he or she will get a judgement for possession and you must move out.
If you win, you may stay. The district justice may also decide whether the landlord or you owes the other money.
If you do not agree with the decision, you have 30 days to appeal the case to the county court. If this happens to you and you got this far without a lawyer, you are going to need one at this point. The process takes at least 30 days.
Your belongings could be dumped outside or taken to a storage facility and you would have to pay the storage fee to get them back. If unpaid rent is the only reason for eviction, you can stop the process by paying the rent due, plus court costs, at any time before the constable comes to the door to put you out on the street. Most places will be occupied when you look at them, which makes it difficult to spot problems. An apartment might look like a dump because it needs repairs, or it might look like a dump because the people living there are slobs.
If you have a parent or someone else who will help you with the lease, get a copy and review it with them. Some landlords who rent to students will ask the parents to co-sign. When this happens, the co-signers can be held responsible for any lease violations committed by you or your roommates. Choose Roommates with Care Make sure you know and trust anyone with whom you will share a rental space.
The Lease The lease is a legal agreement between you and the landlord for renting a property. The lease can be oral spoken or in writing. If written, ask for and get a copy of the signed lease. Make sure that all blanks are filled in or crossed out of the lease and that all changes are made before signing. EVERY agreement between you and the landlord must be put in the lease, including any promises by the landlord to make repairs. The Security Deposit During the first year of a lease, the amount of a security deposit cannot exceed two months rent.
Existing Damages In order to avoid being blamed for damages that are there when you move in, take every step for self-protection. Before moving in, or the day you are moving in, make a list of all existing damages and repairs that need to be made.
Implied Warranty of Habitability – Prince Law Offices Blog
A copy of the list should be presented to the landlord and attached to the lease. If possible, take date stamped photographs and give copies to the landlord right away. Some will even take photos or a videotape. If they do, ask for copies and keep them for your records. Changing the Lease Any lease, written or oral, may be changed or modified if both landlord and tenant agree to the change.
The landlord is permitted to make new rules and regulations after the lease goes into effect, but only to address the health of the tenants and the safety of the premises. Written leases may explain how changes in the lease can be made--for example, the lease might say any changes must be in writing and signed by both the landlord and the tenant.
Make sure you get receipts each month to prove you paid your rent. To change an oral lease - or a written lease which does not say how changes are to be made - notice of a change must be given in writing, telling what change is desired and when it will take effect. Repairs Written leases generally say who is responsible for different kinds of repairs. If the tenant has an oral lease, or a written lease that does not state who is responsible for repairs, the general rule is that the landlord is responsible for all major repairs and repairs necessary because of normal wear and tear.
If the tenant caused the damage, the tenant may be responsible for repairing the damage.
You are here
However, some leases prohibit tenants from doing any repairs or remodeling. In that case, the landlord can repair damage caused by the tenant and the tenant will be charged for the repair. You should keep records of any damages that are charged to you - or that you think will be charged to you. Give the landlord a chance to make the repairs. If you have trouble getting the landlord to make repairs, you can: Call the municipal office where you live and see if there is a code enforcement officer who can look at damage, you can terminate the lease and move out, or arrange to have the repairs made yourself by a reputable repair person and deduct the cost from the rent.
Recent law in Pennsylvania gives the tenants more rights to stop paying some or all rent if the landlord does not make necessary repairs.