Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Rights

Renting a home can be stressful, whether you are the lessor or the lessee. Take the stress out of rentals with our below guide on Pennsylvania landlord tenant rights.

Landlord Responsibilities

The landlord has certain responsibilities to the tenant. These include:

  • Lead disclosure
  • Safe stairs and railings

The landlord is prohibited from engaging in retaliatory or discriminatory conduct.

Tenant Responsibilities

The tenant also has responsibilities to the landlord. These include:

  • Keep the unit in a safe and habitable condition
  • Remove all hazards and trash
  • Maintain fixtures in clean working order
  • Keep others from damaging the property
  • Do not disturb other tenants or neighbors

Security Deposit

Pennsylvania law sets the maximum security deposit amount at 2 months’ rent for the first year of renting and 1 month’s rent for every year after. After the second year of the lease, the tenant is entitled to 1% interest on their deposit. Security deposit funds that are held for more than two years or exceed $100 must be deposited in an escrow account in a federally or state-regulated institution.

The security deposit must be returned within 30 days of the termination of the lease or when the premises are vacated and accepted by the landlord, whichever occurs first. The security deposit return can be debited to account for damages and unpaid rent if an itemized list of deductions is presented. If the landlord does not return the security deposit, they will be held liable for twice the amount plus interest.

Rent and Fees

Pennsylvania landlords can charge any amount for rent and increase that rent at their discretion without notice to the tenant.

If the landlord requests prepaid rent, it is capped at two months’ worth for the first year and 1 month’s rent for additional years.

The tenant may withhold rent in an escrow account if a government agency or department certifies that the landlord has failed to provide essential services, such as heat or water.

Evictions

Evictions can occur in Pennsylvania in the following circumstances:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Lease violation
  • No lease or end of lease
  • Illegal drug activity

Tenants can end a lease early for these listed reasons:

  • Early termination clause
  • Active military duty
  • Uninhabitable unit
  • Landlord harassment

If the tenant does end the lease early, they may be held responsible for payment of the remainder of the lease (landlords do not have the duty to mitigate damages).

If the tenant leaves behind their personal property, the landlord must send them a 10-day notice to that effect along with contact information so they can reclaim it. If the tenant fails to retrieve their personal property within 10 days, the landlord can dispose of the items.

Lease Termination Notice

If the lease is for less than a year or for an unspecified time, the landlord must give a 15-day termination notice. If the lease is for more than a year, the tenant must receive a 30-day notice. For month-to-month leases, the notice is for 15 days.

If the lease is being terminated for nonpayment of rent, a 10-day notice is required.

Relevant State Agencies

Pennsylvania Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Philadelphia:

Fair Housing Commission

Water

Electric

Gas

Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh Department of Housing and Urban Development

Water

Electric

Gas

Allentown:

Allentown Housing Authority

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Landlord Tenant Act of 1951