To use the law … When it comes to how many people can live in an apartment or other rental property, the standard is  two people per bedroom. Tenants are often at a disadvantage in their relationships with landlords, who in most cases have more knowledge of the law and more resources to use the law to their advantage. The Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission handles cases involving housing discrimination. The first question many tenants have and have asked us is: do I still have to pay rent? Basic tenant rights. Pennsylvania's Tenants Rights to Withhold Rent. The Fair Housing Center at Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership, as a public service, has prepared a manual for tenants and landlords. Another right tenants have in Pennsylvania is to make necessary repairs themselves, then deduct the cost of their repairs from their rent. On the other hand, there are also cases where the two people per bedroom standard doesn’t apply if more people are living in a property. However, if you do anything except offer a lease to the tenant, your actions could be considered “adverse.” Adverse actions after reviewing a report include: If you choose to do any of those things, you must let the tenant know, and you need to provide them with the opportunity to learn why they are being denied or charged a higher amount. 1176, No. There are two categories of renter rights — federal rights and state rights. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. All Rights Reserved. Section 507-B. Your Rights as a Tenant in PA 18 Sep 2019, by Brandy Benefield in Civil Litigation. The first question many tenants have and have asked us is: do I still have to pay rent? Pennsylvania landlord-tenant law allows tenants the right to have visitors as long as they continue to observe their other obligations as a tenant. Landlord Responsibilities. Here is a list of essential amenities that Pennsylvania landlords may or may not be responsible for. Because a tenant has a right to possession of the particular property they are leasing, the foreclosure action could affect and possibly eliminate such right, and thus the tenant becomes a necessary party to foreclosure litigation. Attorney General's Office; Tenant-Landlord Handbook; Legal assistance; Need Help? Because a tenant has a right to possession of the particular property they are leasing, the foreclosure action could affect and possibly eliminate such right, and thus the tenant becomes a necessary party to foreclosure litigation. Landlords can’t discriminate against people in several categories under the Fair Housing Act.  decided that it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that a property is safe and sanitary. A landlord can’t force a tenant to move into a home “as-is” and can’t expect or demand that a tenant be responsible for repairs. As such, landlords are legally allowed to enter units whenever they want, though most landlords and tenants have some kind of entry notification policy in the lease agreement. If the inspector declares the home to be uninhabitable, the tenant does not need to keep paying rent on the property. On the other end, tenants could lose their homes and their credit score could suffer, setting them up for hard times when searching for a new home. Use of Illegal Drugs. Pennsylvania's landlord-tenant laws provide rights to both parties in the event of a dispute. Tenant Resource Guide. The tenant will be served a copy of the complaint and given a hearing date. Venue. Compensation for Loss of Value. Section 507-B. This manual is not intended as a substitute for proper legal advice. In Pennsylvania, apart from paying rent, tenants must: Pennsylvania landlords may evict tenants for the following reasons: Pennsylvania does not have any rules on how eviction of at-will tenants is supposed to work.  on the subject. Is Pennsylvania a “Landlord Friendly” State? For example, a landlord can’t write “no children” in an ad for an apartment. Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County have ordinances that protect tenants from discriminations based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. In the case of leases that are for a year or longer, you’re required to give at least 30 days notice. That means a two-bedroom house technically has space for up to four people. A landlord can’t drop by to check in on a tenant or act as if the home is their home, too. In addition to the state act, landlord and tenant rights in PA are defined by federal law and by the terms of the lease. We handle everything from tenant screening and lease preparation to property maintenance and tenant evictions. To learn more about how we can help you avoid the stresses and concerns of being a landlord and managing properties,  contact us today. In Pennsylvania, tenant rights include quiet enjoyment, habitability, return of security deposit if no damage to building exists, the right to have a notice of perceived violations and advanced notice of evictions. For leases under one year or for month-to-month leases, Pennsylvania landlordlaws require that you give tenants at least 15 days notice that you won’t be renewing the lease. Pennsylvania rental property laws do include a provision that allows tenants to stop paying their landlord rent if there is a problem with the property that makes it uninhabitable. Tenant/Landlord Rights & Responsibilities Manual. Tenant Rights, Laws and Protections: Pennsylvania. Landlords are forbidden from unilaterally changing locks as a form of eviction. If the landlord did not return any remaining security deposit plus interest to the tenant, the tenant can recover twice the amount of deposit that was wrongfully withheld. Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you should typically be able to deal with legal issues without going to court. [PDF] Content Detail. HUD handles complaints about housing discrimination, bad landlords in federal housing and many other issues. Although you might be more concerned with your rights under the law as a landlord, it’s also essential that you know and understand the rights of your tenants. Tenants Protected. The City of Philadelphia passed the Emergency Housing Protection Act (Philadelphia Code 9-809) on July 1, 2020, and amended it on December 1, 2020. Pennsylvania does not have any laws regarding landlord right to entry. The CARES Act enacted in late March instituted a temporary moratorium on certain evictions. If your property is located in Pennsylvania, here's what you need to know to put together a lease that is in alignment with the PA lease agreement laws! The law is in place to help tenants living in a residence in need of repair. You also need to give tenants notice if you plan on evicting them. Before you hire a property management company, these are the questions you'll want to ask. Pennsylvania Laws on Retaliation Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating against tenants who exercise their rights. Tenants Protected. You must obtain the certificate and have it issued by Licenses and Inspections “within 60 days prior to the start of tenancy”. If you don’t provide a tenant with the full amount of the security deposit or with a list of damages, they have the right to sue for double the amount of the deposit. Section 508-B. a landlord, you may call the PA Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or you may also file a complaint online at: www.attorneygeneral.gov Apartment Leases Security Deposits Be sure to keep a copy of the lease for yourself. The tenant’s agreement is tied to the property, not the owner. This means that your landlord needs to promptly repair any broken locks, heaters, hot water … As the end of the lease gets nearer or right after a tenant moves out, they still have a few legal rights landlords need to know about. This limit changes based on the length of tenancy. The timeframe for correcting the issue depends in large part on the problem and the season. If you own and lease property in Central Pennsylvania, you’ll want to have a grasp of tenant rights in Pennsylvania under the  Landlord and Tenant Act. [PDF] Content Detail. Information from North Penn Legal Services on Tenants' rights in dealing with a bed bug problem. Consumer Protection Law in Pennsylvania and Landlord/Tenant Relationships are discussed by NWLS Attorneys John Gandrud & David Hull in this episode. However, tenant law varies from state to state, which is why we take a closer look at each state specifically. Section 506-B. Although federal law prohibiting discrimination in housing has been around since the late 1960s, the problem persists. As a landlord, you have no legal right to remove your tenant in any other way. American Heritage Property Management The Emergency Housing Protection Act (EHPA) creates new rights and protections for tenants facing COVID-19 related hardships. There are often rumors among tenants that if their landlord doesn’t make corrections or fix issues, then they don’t have to pay rent. Consumer Protection Law in Pennsylvania and Landlord/Tenant Relationships are discussed by NWLS Attorneys John Gandrud & David Hull in this episode. A tenant and landlord may have a significant disagreement when the tenant withholds rent due to unsafe or uninhabitable conditions on the rental property. You cannot lock tenants out or shut off their utilities. To find out more about the ways in which a Pennsylvania real estate lawyer can offer assistance with the process of protecting your rights as a landlord of a commercial property, and the ways in which an attorney can help you to evict a tenant, give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us today. Once you’ve reviewed a tenant’s credit or consumer report, you can decide what to do next. There is a process to go through and a procedure to follow if they remain in the property. Some landlord-tenant disputes will leave you with no other option. By: ... PA on 7/12/07. Join Tenants with Right of Survivorship. As a tenant, you have the right to a safe environment and privacy. These include shutting off essential services, denying tenants access to the rental property, seizing a tenant’s personal belongings and threatening the tenant. Pennsylvania tenant rights allow landlords to enter a dwelling only for repairs or inspections, and only after providing reasonable notice. If they do not, the tenants may take some forms of alternative action, such as withholding rent payments. In Pennsylvania, it’s  illegal to deny housing to someone based on their age It’s about time the internet had a single place with all of the most up-to-date information from leading experts in property management, investing and real estate law. Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants in retaliation or as a form of discrimination. Some landlord-tenant disputes will leave you with no other option. Section 505-B. Pennsylvania landlords are not obligated to make an effort to re-rent the unit. The Fair Housing Center at Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership, as a public service, has prepared a manual for tenants and landlords. Cities and counties may enact their own rules and regulations for renters. In any case, you should always know your basic tenant rights to avoid many unpleasant situations and lengthy discussions with landlords. When a landlord markets or advertises an apartment or other property for rent, they need to be sure that the marketing doesn’t violate the Fair Housing Act or discriminate against tenants. Section 505-B. Tenant rights and obligations, including tenant at will and how to … Tenants’ Rights. Section 504-A. For example, if a landlord includes a “no pets” policy in the lease and also states that service animals aren’t allowed in the home, the clause forbidding service animals won’t be enforceable, since it violates the Fair Housing Act. Some of the rights you have when renting in PA include: Tenant Rights to Quiet Enjoyment Tenants May Have More Expansive Rights Than They Think. In 2017, there were  more than 28,000 complaints of housing discrimination. The order will give the tenant at least 10 days to leave the premises, and if she stays longer than permitted by the order, the county sheriff can forcibly remove her from the property. By: Northwestern Legal Services. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, landlords need to follow a few rules and guidelines to make sure that they aren’t violating a tenant’s rights. For example, if the heater breaks or if there is an issue with the water lines or sewer, they need to notify the landlord. Tenants who are on a periodic lease must give the following notice if they wish to break the lease: Early termination. When everyone is on the same page about what they can do and what they are entitled to under the law, the landlord-tenant relationship can be a smooth one. As a Pennsylvania tenant, federal and state laws provide you with the following rights: Right to Habitable Housing The property you rent must meet minimal standards of habitability, and your landlord is responsible for maintaining the premises at that standard. For a best case scenario, all parties should at the very least be on the same page about the rules. If the furnace breaks in the middle of January, then it needs to be fixed right away. We make the lives of landlords, tenants and real estate investors easier by giving them the knowledge and resources they care most about. A landlord desirous of repossessing real property from a tenant except real property which is a mobile home space as defined in the act of November 24, 1976 (P.L. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Once they’ve signed the lease and paid their rent, tenants have the right to enjoy their home peacefully. Can a Tenant Change the Locks in Pennsylvania? If a landlord fails to take care of important maintenance, such as a leaky roof or a broken heater, you have several important legal rights, including: the right to withhold rent until repairs are made, and. Owning and renting out properties is a two-way street. The recommendation isn’t set in stone, though, and there might be acceptable reasons for a landlord to allow fewer occupants. tenants are those covered under Landlord Tenant law. The Fair Housing Center at LHOP 123 East King Street Lancaster, PA 17602 Phone: (717) 291-9945, ext. Tenants have the right to see their reports and to dispute any inaccurate information that might be on their reports. If a landlord does need to enter the property to make repairs or for another legitimate reason, they have to provide the tenant with reasonable notice. Pennsylvania rental property laws extend to a tenant’s use and enjoyment of a home after they’ve signed the lease, received the keys and moved in their belongings. These rules do not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. This area of law is essential to renting an apartment or house. Tenant Rights Tenants (also referred to as "renters") need to know their rights when entering into a rental agreement.  or because they are pregnant. This new law is called "implied warranty of habitability" and gives tenants more rights than the old law did. This guide can explain the basics of how PA landlord tenant law may affect you as a tenant or a landlord. If the eviction is for nonpayment of rent, the tenant has the legal right to stop the eviction by paying the back rent due plus expenses, up to the last moment. Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. The right to quiet enjoyment of a property for a tenant means that a landlord doesn’t have the right or permission to enter the property whenever they want. But if it breaks in August, a landlord can put off repairs until they are needed. Lead Counsel Verified Attorneys. Under the act, a landlord doesn’t have the right to forbid overnight guests or to limit the number of visitors a tenant has in a week or month. If the landlord makes the needed repairs within six months, they will get the money in the escrow account. Landlord-Tenant Rights . Generally speaking, a property needs the following to be considered safe and sanitary: Although a tenant has the right to a safe home, they also have some responsibilities. Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise. A tenant who withholds rent when a landlord has failed to make necessary repairs may have a good defense it the landlord decides to sue for back rent or eviction, if s/he can prove that the house or apartment is worth only the smaller amount of rent. Tenants are legally allowed to break a lease for the following reasons: If a tenant breaks a lease early then they may be required to pay the remainder of the lease agreement. From fees to tenant screening and maintenance - learn more! As such, it is generally assumed that at-will tenants have no protections and may be evicted at any time for any reason. As a renter, you have a right to privacy in your home, which is covered by a legal doctrine called the “ implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.” That means that you can use and enjoy the space you’re renting without … However, there are very few details about the discrimination investigation process or applicable penalties. The Fair Housing Center at LHOP 123 East King Street Lancaster, PA 17602 Phone: (717) 291-9945, ext. Pennsylvania law states that landlords can require up to two months’ rent for a security deposit for the first year of a lease. You need to understand the landlord-tenant laws in your state to know your rights. Most notably, the code requires landlords to provide tenants with a copy of the City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing brochure. If a landlord fails to take care of important maintenance, such as a leaky roof or a broken heater, you have several important legal rights, including: the right to withhold rent until repairs are made, and Section 503-B. First, a landlord can only get a credit or consumer report on a current or potential tenant if they have that person’s permission. Information from North Penn Legal Services on Tenants' rights in dealing with a bed bug problem. What about your rights as a tenant? In Pennsylvania, it’s usually anywhere from 10 to 30 days. However, tenant law varies from state to state, which is why we take a closer look at each state specifically. In 1979, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Section 506-B. First, the tenant needs to have told the landlord about the problem. Pennsylvania landlords are required to maintain the unit in a livable condition and must make repair requests in a “reasonable” amount of time, although reasonable is not defined. Protected groups. Some cities and municipalities in the state also  forbid discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. If you need more in depth information or advice, you may want to consult with an attorney versed in Pennsylvania landlord tenant law. Compensation for Physical Damage. The Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Act includes the process for Magisterial District Court evictions, limitations on the length of verbal leases (three years), and rules about security deposits . Pennsylvania Termination and Eviction Rules Under the law, tenants don’t have the right simply to stop paying rent, though. 7 E-mail: info@LHOP.org. Here are a few tenant rights that relate to the lease. In Pennsylvania, a lease agreement exists wherever a tenant agrees to exchange rent for inhabiting a property. For specifics, see Pennsylvania Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent or “Repair and Deduct”. For example, if a couple living in a one-bedroom apartment has a baby, a landlord will have a difficult time evicting the couple for occupancy reasons. First Year of Lease: When a landlord signs an initial yearly lease with a tenant, the landlord can collect a maximum of two months' rent as a security deposit. Second, the repairs need to have been necessary to make the property habitable — a tenant can’t decide to upgrade to a newer refrigerator then charge the landlord for the fix. Are for a best case scenario, all parties should at the least! 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