Pennsylvania Tenant Rights Laws

If you're new to Pennsylvania, you may be surprised to find that there aren't as many landlord-tenant laws here as there are in other states. However, in addition to the terms of your lease, and federal and local law, there are a number of state laws designed to guide the landlord-tenant relationship. Read on to learn more about Pennsylvania tenant rights laws.

Tenant Rights: Security Deposits, Lease Terminations, and More

In addition to state and federal laws protecting you against discrimination based on characteristics like race, religion, or national origin, Pennsylvania has strict guidelines for handling security deposits. For example, your landlord may not charge you more than the equivalent of two months' rent for the first year of your lease, and not more than one months' rent for subsequent years.

Your landlord is also required to give you proper notice before deciding not to renew your lease, or to evict you for failing to pay rent or breaking your lease agreement. And during your tenancy, you have a right to safe and sanitary conditions under the implied warranty of habitability. Finally, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against you, for example by raising your rent or threatening to evict you, simply because you exercised a tenant right or complained to a government agency.

Pennsylvania Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of Pennsylvania state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to important code sections.

Statutes

Security Deposits

  • Limit: Two months' rent for first year; one months' rent each subsequent year
  • Must return all or part of the security deposit within 30 days (with interest in many cases)
  • Part or all may be used for:
    • Unpaid rent
    • Damages to rental
    • Damage due to breach of lease

Paying Rent

  • May not raise rent during lease term (e.g. 1 year lease) unless lease allows; may raise rent upon lease renewal
  • May raise rent during periodic rental agreement (e.g. month-to-month)

Living Conditions

  • No statute dictating when landlord may or may not enter unit
  • Landlord must provide unit that is safe, sanitary, and fit for human habitation

Discrimination

  • No discrimination based on race, color, familial status, religion, ancestry, handicap or disability, age, sex, national origin, or use of a guide or support animal

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Landlord must give notice to terminate the tenancy:
    • Of more than one year: 30 days
    • Of one year or less, or indeterminate time: 15 days
    • For eviction: 10 days for failure to pay rent
    • Or as provided for in the lease
  • Eviction: court order required

Retaliation

  • Landlord may not retaliate against tenant for exercising tenant rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Pennsylvania Tenant Rights Laws: Related Resources

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