Philadelphia Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: September 22, 2023 by Cameron Smith

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A residential lease agreement in Philadelphia is a binding document between a landlord and a tenant. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions surrounding the use of a rental property in exchange for payment.

Residential Lease Agreement Requirements in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia currently has two mandatory disclosures that landlords must include in all lease agreements.

Bed Bug Disclosure

Philadelphia landlords are required to include a bedbug disclosure in their lease. This disclosure must outline the responsibilities of both landlord and tenant in regard to bed bug prevention.

Smoking Disclosure

Philadelphia requires landlords to include a disclosure stating whether or not smoking is prohibited on the premises. . Additionally, if smoking is only allowed in certain units, the landlord must specify which units allow smoking.

Landlord-Tenant Rights and Regulations in Philadelphia

When it comes to landlord-tenant rights, Philadelphia landlords should be aware of the following:

Unfair Rental Practices

In Philadelphia, it is illegal for landlords to engage in unfair housing practices. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Entering into, changing, or terminating a lease on a property with open code violations.
  • Retaliating against a tenant for reporting code violations or exercising their legal rights.
  • Unlawfully keeping a tenant’s security deposit.
  • Refusing to allow a domestic abuse survivor to end their lease without a penalty.
  • Increasing the rent without providing written notice.
  • Terminating a lease without providing written notice.
  • Ending a month-to-month lease without a good cause.
  • Illegally evicting a tenant.

Landlord Notice to Tenant of Rent Increase

For leases that are one year or more, landlords must provide at least 60 days’ written notice for increased rent (unless stated otherwise in the lease). For leases that are less than one year, landlords must provide at least 30 days’ notice. The landlord must inform the tenant of the following:

  • The amount of the rent increase
  • The effective date of the rent increase
  • The new payment amount

Tenant Notice to Landlord of Non-Renewal of Lease

If a tenant decides not to renew their lease at the end of the term, they must notify the landlord within 30 days of receiving notice of a rent increase. The tenant should provide this notice in writing.

Good Cause Required for Lease Termination

Philadelphia landlords must have a good cause for terminating a lease agreement. The reasons include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Ongoing non-payment or late payment of rent
  • Failing to comply with the rental agreement
  • Misusing the property or causing excessive damage
  • Refusing to agree to a rent increase
  • The building or unit will be undergoing renovations

Source of Income Discrimination

Philadelphia has an ordinance stating that a person cannot refuse to sell or rent a property due to one’s source of income. Violation of this code could result in penalties of up to $2,000.

Optional Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums in Philadelphia

The following disclosures are not mandatory, but adding them could prevent future liability issues and create a stronger lease agreement.

Crime-Free Disclosure

Philadelphia has consistently ranked above the national average in regard to crime. It would be in the landlord’s best interest to include a disclosure stating that engaging in criminal activity, including drug-related activity, is prohibited on or near the property.

Mold Disclosure

Due to Philadelphia’s humid climate, mold is a common issue here. If landlords fail to include a mold disclosure, they may be liable for future mold-related damage.

Asbestos Disclosure

Pennsylvania is ranked among the top 5 states for asbestos-related deaths. This is why it’s important for Philadelphia landlords to include a disclosure stating if asbestos is present on the property. If asbestos is present, tenants should take precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the fibers.

Pest Control Disclosure

Listed as one of the top rat-infested cities, Philadelphia is a great contender for a pest control disclosure. This agreement should highlight the tenants’ responsibilities related to pest prevention—including reporting any signs of pests to management as soon as possible.

Summary of Required Lease Disclosures for the State of Pennsylvania

  • Lead-Based Paint – Federal law states that any home built before 1978 must disclose lead-based paint risks. Pennsylvania landlords must fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement, provide the tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet, and provide additional records about the hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.