The Pennsylvania rental agreements are contracts written when a tenant wishes to use a real property that is overseen by a landlord or property owner. The tenant will make regular rent payments (usually monthly) in exchange for the use of the property. The agreements set the terms for the rental.
Pennsylvania Rental Agreement Types
Common Rental Agreements in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Association of Realtors Residential Lease – this template, for use by members of Pennsylvania Association of Realtor members, is heavily used by residential rental units (not for manufactured homes) throughout Pennsylvania. It provides an extensive list of rules and procedures, including specifics that go as far as outlining tenants’ duties/responsibilities and landlord’s remedies if the tenant breaches the lease agreement.
Pennsylvania Required Lease Disclosures
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – Any Pennsylvania lease agreement must include a lead-based paint disclosure, EPA informational packet, and notice of known lead paint hazards that exist in the property for the safety of the tenant, but only if the building was built before 1978.
To learn more about required disclosures in Pennsylvania, click here.
Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – Habitability standards are governed by case law in Pennsylvania. Landlords should make sure the dwelling is safe and habitable. A landlord has a “reasonable” amount of time to make repairs requested by tenants. Otherwise, a tenant may be legally empowered to withhold rent (if deemed unfit for human habitation by the health department or local code authority) or perform a repair and deduct.
- Evictions – Pennsylvania landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or committing an illegal act. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to quit, and the amount of notice depends on the type of eviction. In all, these evictions can take more than a month to process.
- Security Deposits – In most cases, a Pennsylvania landlord cannot charge more than 2 months’ rent for a security deposit or if the tenant is renewing the lease a landlord may only charge up to 1 month’s rent for a deposit. They also cannot withhold any remaining security deposit funds for more than 30 days after a tenant moves out.
- Lease Termination – Month-to-month leases in Pennsylvania can be terminated by the tenant, but only after supplying 15 days of notice to their landlord. Similarly, a tenant must supply proof of one of the following to terminate their fixed-term lease early: active military duty, landlord harassment, domestic violence, or unit uninhabitability.
- Rent Increases & Fees – Pennsylvania landlords are allowed to raise rent when they want. There is no statewide notice requirement; however, certain cities may impose their own rules. The state also does not place restrictions on fees charged by landlords as long as they are “reasonable.” Bounced check fees are capped at $50.
- Landlord Entry – Pennsylvania landlords must give tenants “reasonable” notice before entering the premises. There may be additional limitations on a landlord’s right of entry depending on which city, town, or municipality the rental unit is located in.
- Settling Legal Disputes – Landlord-tenant disputes valued at up to $12,000 can be heard in Pennsylvania’s state small claims courts. This includes eviction cases, though Philadelphia maintains its own separate courts for these types of cases.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Pennsylvania, click here.