Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law

Before renting a home, find out how Pennsylvania landlord tenant law affects you. Uncover important details of the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act here.

PA Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Pennsylvania Statutes Title 68, Section 250.101 to 250.602 - Landlord and Tenant Act

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant Application

Background and Credit Check

You can screen tenants with credit reports and background checks from TransUnion SmartMove.

Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks.  Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)

Avoiding Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap.  42 U.S.C. § 3604

*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.

In addition, Pennsylvania landlord tenant law prohibits landlords from discriminating someone as a renter because of age.  43 P.S. § 953

Landlords must follow the above Fair Housing Act laws UNLESS they are renting out rooms in an owner occupied dwelling with a common entrance or shared living areas.  43 P.S. § 955.(h)(10)

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Tenancy Agreement

(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)

Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.

To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Pennsylvania landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Security Deposit

For the first year of tenancy, Pennsylvania landlord tenant law allows the landlord to ask for up to two months' rent as security deposit. From the second year onwards, the landlord can ask for up to one month's rent as deposit.  68 P.S. § 250.511a.(a)(b)

From the third year of tenancy, the landlord has to hold any security deposit over $100 in an escrow account. In addition, the landlord must let the tenant know the following details of the deposit account: banking institution name, banking institution address and deposit amount.  68 P.S. § 250.511b.(a)(c)

If the escrow account generates interest, the landlord can keep 1% interest per year. Any remaining interest shall be paid to the tenant.  68 P.S. § 250.511b.(b)

Deductions and Returns

Pennsylvania landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
  
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Pennsylvania landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant violating the lease or failing in duties - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a written list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.  68 PA 250.512.(a)

If the landlord doesn't provide this list, he or she won't be allowed to withhold any deposit or sue the tenant for property damages.

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.  68 P.S. § 250.512.(c)

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PA

Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

Late Rent

There are no Pennsylvania landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments or bounced checks.

Raising Rent

There are no specific Pennsylvania landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property and its common areas in a safe and habitable condition.  68 P.S. § 250.502-A

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Pennsylvania landlord tenant law 68 P.S. § 250.503-A requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:

  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, tenant's family or tenant's guests
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors

If Landlord Fails to Provide Essential Services

If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation) and a government agency has certified that the property is not habitable, the tenant can withhold rent and deposit it into an escrow account instead of paying the landlord directly.  68 P.S. § 250.206

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Property Access

There are no Pennsylvania landlord tenant statutes on when and how the landlord can enter the property.

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Subletting

There are no specific Pennsylvania landlord tenant laws on subletting.

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PA

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Before terminating a tenancy, Pennsylvania landlord tenant law 68 P.S. § 250.501.(b) requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance:

Month to month tenancy

30 days

Tenancy at will

15 days

Tenant has rented property for one year or less

15 days

Tenant has rented property for more than one year

30 days

Tenant passed away

14 days

Tenant Passed Away

If the tenant passed away during the tenancy, the tenant's executor can terminate the lease by sending the landlord a written 14 day notice to quit.  68 P.S. § 250.514

The tenant's executor still has to pay the landlord for the following:

  • Any rent owed or property damages caused by the tenant (after deducting from the security deposit first)
  • Costs incurred by the landlord due to the tenant's death

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Eviction

According to Pennsylvania landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

10 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement

15 days

Tenant, tenant's household or tenant's guest was involved in illegal drug-related activities on or near property

10 days

Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.

If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a 10 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and that the rental agreement shall be terminated if rent isn't paid within 10 days.

If the rent is paid within seven days, then tenancy shall continue.  68 P.S. § 250.501.(b)

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

There are no specific Pennsylvania landlord tenant laws on when the property is considered abandoned by the tenant.

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If there are tenant's belongings left on the property after the lease has terminated OR the tenant has abandoned the property, the landlord must send the tenant a written notice by first mail informing him or her of the belongings. The tenant shall have 10 days to respond.  68 P.S. § 250.505a.(d)

This written notice has to include the following text:

"Personal property remaining at (address) is now considered to have been abandoned.  Within ten days of the postmark date of this notice, you must retrieve any items you wish to keep or contact your landlord at (telephone number and address) to request that the property be retained or stored.  If requested, storage will be provided for up to thirty days from the postmark date of this notice at a place of your landlord's choosing, and you will be responsible for costs of storage."  68 P.S. § 250.505a.(e)

If the tenant contacts the landlord within 10 days, the landlord must give the tenant an additional 20 days to collect his or her belongings (total of 30 days from the day tenant was informed). After the first 10 days, the landlord may move the items to another location and charge the tenant storage costs.

If the tenant does not contact the landlord within 10 days, the landlord can dump, sell or give the belongings away.  Act of July 5, 2012, P.L. 1091, No.129

If the landlord violates Pennsylvania landlord tenant laws on abandonment, the tenant can sue the landlord for three times damages plus court costs and attorney fees.  68 P.S. § 250.505a.(i)

↑ Return to Top of Page (Table of Contents)

Resources

Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Law: Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951

Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Handbook: Self-Help Handbook for Tenants

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Like and Share ☺