Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law

Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws are provided in the 68 P.S. Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. The state statutes provide definitions of terms related to landlord tenant laws (also known as PA rental laws), the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants as well as violations and remedies under Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law. These laws generally cover issues from questions on a rental application form to conducting a tenant background check to security deposits, abandonment of personal property, renter’s rights, and much, much, more. Before we continue discussing PA Landlord Tenant Law, please note the resources and information on this website are not a substitute for legal advice. AAOA is providing this guide online as a service to our members, we are not attorneys nor are we in the business of providing advice on legal issues. If you have questions regarding PA Landlord Tenant Law or believe you may have a legal case pursuant to these statutes, you should seek the advice of an attorney or lawyer.

Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law

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Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law – Security deposits

After a tenant applies for a rental and the landlord approves their tenant screening and verifies employment, the landlord may offer a rental lease agreement. Upon signing the agreement a security deposit is usually provided by the tenant. Landlord Rights in PA refer to a security deposit as “escrow payment,” in accordance with code 250.511(a), “Escrow funds limited.” Under the statutes regarding security deposits, a landlord may not require an amount equal to more than two months rent as escrow payment during the first year of a lease. Upon renewal of a lease for the second and for any subsequent years, a landlord may require an escrow payment that must not exceed an amount equal to more than the amount of a one-month rent payment. Under 250.511(d), a landlord may not require a tenant to pay additional escrow funds. Beginning with the third year of a rental term and for every year thereafter, 250.511(c) requires that “upon termination of the lease, or on surrender and acceptance of the leasehold premises, the escrow funds together with interest shall be returned to the tenant in accordance with sections 511.2 and 512.” The termination of the lease might be when the original lease ends or could be modified by a notice to vacate. All escrow funds over the amount of $100 “shall be deposited in an escrow account of an institution regulated by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Comptroller of the Currency, or the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.” Landlords are required to notify tenants in writing where the escrow funds are being held. Take the time to provide notice as failure to do so may be considered a violation of PA tenant laws. The rules governing landlord-tenant relationships include the termination of the tenancy. Upon move out PA landlord laws state the landlord is required to return all funds held in escrow to the tenant within thirty days. If the landlord claims that the tenant is responsible for any damages to the property, an itemized list of damages and amount of escrow withheld for each shall be provided to the tenant in writing, along with return of the remainder of the security deposit. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit, they forfeit all rights to withhold any of the funds in escrow for alleged damages. If a tenant fails to notify the landlord of a new address in writing upon termination of the tenancy, doing so “shall relieve the landlord from any liability under this section.” Based on this, it is not the landlord’s responsibility to find the tenant’s new location. Whether or not the tenant leaves on their own or an eviction is filed in court, it is important there is always communication between the landlord-tenant.

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Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law – Abandonment of personal property

The Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 was amended in 2012 to include a new section on “Disposition of Abandoned Personal Property.” Under this section, at the termination of the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for complete removal of all personal property from the premises. Section 505.1(2) (b) states that tenants have ten days after relinquishing possession of the premises to contact the property owner to arrange to remove any remaining personal property. It is required that “If the intent is conveyed to the landlord, the personal property shall be retained by the landlord at a site of the landlord’s choosing for thirty days.” If the tenant fails to contact the landlord within the allotted ten days, the personal property of the tenant “may be disposed of at the end of the ten days at the discretion of the landlord.” Pennsylvania Landlord Forms can help landlords ensure that tenants are afforded all their rights to specific notices from the landlord and that the written lease complies with Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law. Pennsylvania Tenant Screening packages help landlords quickly eliminate prospective tenants who do not meet their standards. Applicants who are likely to comply with their responsibilities under the lease terms and Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws can then rise to the top of the applicant pool.

Landlords must comply with anti-discrimination laws.

  • Provide safe and habitable housing and comply with state and local health department guidelines
  • Follow state rent rules
  • Comply with security deposit limits and rules
  • Make legally required disclosures
  • Make proper repairs in a timely manner
  • For additional information click here.
  • Philadelphia Landlord Tenant Law

    Philadelphia tenants have tenant landlord laws protecting their health and safety. The city has regulations in place via license and inspection requirements. Tenant Rights Philadelphia Tips: Section PM-102.6.4 states all new tenants must receive “City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing” pamphlet along with an update titled “Supplement to Partners in Good Housing, p 10”. Renters Rights in PA (specifically Philadelphia) also dictate that a landlord must provide a Certificate of Rental Suitability at the start of renting to a new tenant. You must obtain the certificate and have it issued by Licenses and Inspections “within 60 days prior to the start of tenancy”. The certificate is valid for 60 days and has no cost or fess associated with it (it’s free!) and can be obtained online or with an in-person application. If you have multiple new tenants, only one certificate is needed while the 60 day certificate is valid however you’ll need to provide “the specific rental unit number and sign the copy that is presented to the individual tenant.” The Department of Public Health office has its own requirements including a law protecting families with children 6 years and younger. The Lease Paint and Disclosure Certification requires landlords provide a lead free environment for families living in the rental unit. If repairs are necessary there are services that can assist with lead removal in your area. To get more details regarding the Lead Paint Law visit the Department of Public Health’s website. For Philadelphia Renters Rights you can also get local information direct from the government website: Check your district or city for any additional pertinent information.

    Tenants have the right to a Habitable dwelling.