State Rules and Regulations for Pennsylvania Rental Properties and Landlords
In Pennsylvania, a lease agreement exists wherever a tenant agrees to exchange rent for inhabiting a property. According to Pennsylvania law (Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act), tenants have certain rights, such as the right to enjoy the property without undue disturbance and the right to a habitable living space.
Landlords also have rights, such as the right to collect rent in a timely manner and the right to be reimbursed for costs from damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Pennsylvania Official Rules and Regulations
- 68 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 250.101 – 250.602 – Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (PDF)
- Act of Jul. 5, 2012, P.L. 1091, No. 129 – Amendment to Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951
- Title 68 – Real and Personal Property
- Tenant’s Rights – University of Pittsburgh
- City of Philadelphia–Tenant/Landlord
Security Deposits in Pennsylvania
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 2 month’s rent (1 month for tenants who last more than a year, no deposit after 5 years).
- Time Limit for Returns – 30 days.
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a Pennsylvania landlord wrongfully withholds rent, then they will forfeit the deposit and may have to pay up to twice its original amount.
- Allowable Deductions – Repairs for damages that exceed normal wear and tear, unpaid rent.
Lease, Rent & Fees Under Pennsylvania Law
- When Rent Is Due: No statute.
- Rent Increase Notice: No statute.
- Rent Grace Period: No statute.
- Late Fees: No statute.
- Prepaid Rent: A landlord is only allowed to collect up to two months’ rent for escrow purposes, one months’ rent during any subsequent years (68 P.S. §§250.511a).
- Returned Check Fees: Allowed, but it shall not exceed $50 unless the landlord is charged fees in excess of $50 by financial institutions, upon which the landlord can charge the actual amount of the fees.
- Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, when a government agency or department certifies that a dwelling is uninhabitable, the tenant can elect to deposit rent into an escrow account rather than pay the landlord directly (68 P.S. §§ 250.206).
- Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute.
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: No statute.
- Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages Caused by Leasee: No statute.
- Abandonment of Personal Property: (Act of Jul. 5, 2012, P.L. 1091, No. 129)
- The landlord must send a notice to the tenant stating that personal property has been left behind with contact information for the landlord. The tenant then has ten days from the date of postmark of the notice to contact the landlord.
- If the tenant does contact with landlord within the ten day period, the landlord must allow the tenant a total of thirty days (the first ten plus twenty more) to get the items. After the first ten days, the landlord may move the items to another location and charge the tenant for storage.
- If the tenant does not contact the landlord within ten days, the landlord may dispose of the items and have no further responsibility for them.
- The law applies when either (1) the landlord has received a judgment in an eviction case and has executed an order for possession, or (2) the tenant has given written notice that he has left the home.
Evictions in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania landlords may evict tenants for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant misses a rental payment then the landlord may issue a 10-Day Notice to Quit. If they do not pay, the landlord may file a Summons and Complaint with the District Judges office.
- Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs, then the landlord may issue a 15-Day Notice to Quit (30-Day for tenants of more than 1 year). Landlords are not legally required to give tenants a chance to remedy the infraction, though it is customary. If the terms are not met, then the landlord may begin eviction proceedings.
- Illegal acts – Pennsylvania law highlight several illegal activities that warrant eviction, such as drugs and prostitution. Landlords can immediately evict and they are not required to give any notice.
Pennsylvania does not have any rules on how eviction of at-will tenants is supposed to work. As such, it is generally assumed that at-will tenants have no protections and may be evicted at any time for any reason.
Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants in retaliation or as a form of discrimination.
Notices & Entry Under Pennsylvania Law
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – A year or less or for an indeterminate time: 15 days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b)).
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – More than a year: 30 days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b)).
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 15 days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b)).
- Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute.
- Notice of Termination of a Lease for Nonpayment: 10 Days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b))
- Termination for Lease Violation: No statute.
- Required Notice before Entry: No exact amount of time is specified, but generally 24 hours is recommended.
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No statute.
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No statute.
- Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute.
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute.
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
- Lockouts Allowed: No statute, but very few states allows this.
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No statute, but very states allows this.
Mandatory Disclosures in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania landlords must make 2 kinds of mandatory disclosures:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords who own units built before 1978 must provide info about concentrations about lead paint.
- Security deposit bank info. Landlords must also provide details about the bank and accounts that have the tenant’s security deposit.
- Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
- Philadelphia Housing Rental License
- Pittsburgh Bureau of Building Inspection
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Pennsylvania
- Housing–Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
- Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
- Pennsylvania Insurance Department
- Pennsylvania Guide to Homeowners Insurance (PDF)
- Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection
- Pennsylvania State Real Estate Commission
- The Pennsylvania Association of Housing & Redevelopment Agencies
- Allegheny County Housing Authority
- Bethlehem Housing Authority
- Housing Authority of the County of Butler
- Housing Authority of the County of Chester
- Housing Authority of Cumberland County
- Housing Authority of the City of Erie
- Housing Authority of the City of Franklin
- Lackawanna County Housing Authority
- Lancaster City Housing Authority
- Lawrence County Housing Authority
- Lebanon County Housing Authority
- Mercer County Housing Authority
- Montgomery County Housing Authority
- Housing Authority of Northumberland County
- Philadelphia Housing Authority
- Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh
- Housing Authority of The City of Pottsville
- Union County Housing Authority
- Washington County Housing Authority
Realtor, Landlord, and Tenant Associations
- Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®
- Map of Local Associations of REALTORS®
- Landlord Association of PA
- Central PA’s Landlord Association
- Western PA Landlords Association
- Pennsylvania Residential Owners Association
- Apartment Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Apartment Association–Central
- The Western Pennsylvania Apartment Association
- Williamsport Lycoming Landlord Association
- Philadelphia Tenants Union
- Tenant Union Representative Network
- Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania