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Pennsylvania Residential Lease Agreement for Rental Properties
Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.
In Pennsylvania, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Pennsylvania landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.
This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a Pennsylvania lease, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Pennsylvania lease template for download!
Pennsylvania rental agreements or leases agreements are legally binding documents that outline the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. These leases must adhere to Pennsylvania landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.
The following components should be included in all Pennsylvania lease agreements. Remember that these components apply primarily to residential leases; a Pennsylvania commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.
This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.
Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. Currently, there are no state-wide rent control laws in Pennsylvania. This means each Pennsylvania lease agreement should specify how and when tenants will receive notices of rent increases. However, Pennsylvania landlords should be aware that since rent control laws are not banned in the state, individual municipalities in the state could establish their own laws regarding rent increases and notices. Be sure you know which laws apply in your region.
The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In Pennsylvania, there are no statutory limits on late fee amounts. This means landlords in Pennsylvania can choose the amount of the late fee they wish to enforce, as long as it is reasonable. Pennsylvania lease agreements should be clear about the landlord’s policy for late rent and specify all details, including the length of any grace periods, how many times late rent will be tolerated, and the conditions under which any exceptions will be granted.
This section of the lease includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned. In Pennsylvania, there are several laws regulating security deposits.
The maximum or limit for security deposits in Pennsylvania is regulated by state law. Landlords can charge two months’ rent for deposits during the first year, then one month’s rent for subsequent years (68 PS § 250.511a, p. 15). Additionally, Pennsylvania landlords are required to keep most security deposits in an escrow account at a federal or state-regulated institution and pay tenants the interest on them after the second year. When the lease ends, security deposits must be refunded within 30 days (68 PS § 250.512, p. 16).
Landlords should include a detailed security deposit policy in their Pennsylvania rental lease agreement to ensure tenants understand their rights and responsibilities regarding the deposit under Pennsylvania law.
This section encompasses crucial required disclosures in Pennsylvania, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. In Pennsylvania, there is only one mandatory required disclosure:
- Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
Landlord Right to Entry
In Pennsylvania, there are no specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. However, most landlords provide at least 24 hours’ notice to their tenants before entry as a courtesy. Whatever entry policy you decide on, you should include a description of it in this section of the Pennsylvania rental lease agreement.
Repairs & Maintenance
The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Pennsylvania residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.
Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures
This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice tenants need to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.
A Pennsylvania residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Pennsylvania, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths: a ten-day notice to pay or quit for nonpayment, a 15- or 30-day notice to cure or quit for lease violations, and a ten-day quit notice for illegal drug activity. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.
Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Pennsylvania sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.
Joint and Severability Clause
This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.
Both the landlord and tenant will sign the lease either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.
Free Pennsylvania Lease Agreement Download
To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free Pennsylvania lease agreement for download. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Pennsylvania state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.
Understanding the nuances of a Pennsylvania residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Pennsylvania lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Pennsylvania lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.