Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws
January 17, 2023
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|Required Disclosures |
Rent and Fees
Application Fee Limit: N/A
Rent Control: N/A
Late Fee Limit: N/A
Grace Period Minimum: None
Amount Limit: 1-2 months’ rent
Interest: Yes, after 2 years
Return Within: 30 days
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A
|Fair Housing Protections |
Rent Demand Notice: 10-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 15-30 days
Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Law
Understand the essential PA lease agreement laws before enforcing your own rental policies. Find more information in the Pennsylvania state law code.
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
What is a landlord required to disclose in Pennsylvania? Only the lead-based paint disclosure. Pennsylvania law requires no additional disclosures.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: Pennsylvania has no statute specifying when rent should be due.
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in Pennsylvania.
- Rent Increases: There are no state-wide rent control or rent control laws in Pennsylvania. However, rent increases should follow procedures established in the lease agreement. Individual cities may have laws dictating notices for rent increases.
- Late Fees: There are no statutory limits on late fees in Pennsylvania.
- Grace Period: There is no required grace period in Pennsylvania.
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a returned check fee of $50 unless they are charged more by their financial institution, in which case the landlord may charge that amount (18 PS § 4105e).
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If a landlord fails to provide essential services or utilities (water, heat, etc.), tenants can withhold rent and deposit it into an escrow account rather than paying the landlord (68 PS § 250.206, p. 5-6).
- Deposit Limit: Two months’ rent during the first year, then one month’s for subsequent years (68 PS § 250.511a, p. 15).
- Interest: Landlords must pay tenants interest on security deposits after the second year of holding the funds (68 PS § 250.511b(b), p. 15).
- Return Within: 30 days of lease termination or upon surrender of the premises, whichever comes first (68 PS § 250.512, p. 16).
- Deposit Location: Pennsylvania landlords are required to keep security deposits in an escrow account at a federal or state-regulated institution if the funds are greater than $100 and held for longer than two years (68 PS § 250.511.2a-c, p. 16).
- Withholding: Pennsylvania landlords may only withhold funds from the security deposit for damages to which the tenant is liable (68 PS § 250.512a, p. 16).
- According to Pennsylvania security deposit law normal wear and tear is not an acceptable reason to withhold funds from the deposit. If the landlord does not provide a written list of the deductions within 30 days, they forfeit their right to withhold any funds (68 PS § 250.512b, p. 16).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Pennsylvania state law adds protections for ancestry and pregnancy (43 PS § 955h).
- Pennsylvania landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in Pennsylvania.
- Pennsylvania landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: No state law in Pennsylvania requires landlords to give advance notice before entering a property. Generally, 24 hours’ notice is recommended.
- Permitted Times: Pennsylvania state law does not designate any time-of-day restrictions for entering.
- Emergency Entry: Pennsylvania has no laws regarding emergency entry without notice.
- Rent Demand Notice: 10 days to pay or quit (68 PS § 250.501b, p. 11).
- Notice for Lease Violation: According to eviction law Pennsylvania landlords are required to provide a 15-day lease violation notice for tenancies one year or less (or indeterminate) and a 30-day notice for tenancies longer than one year (68 PS § 250.501b, p. 11).
Other Laws and Facts About Pennsylvania
- The average rent rate in Pennsylvania is $1,135 per month.
- The median rent rate in Philadelphia is $1,607 per month.
- Landlords in Philadelphia are required to provide a Certificate of Rental Suitability before renting to a new tenant. The certificate verifies that the property is safe, habitable, and equipped with adequate fire protection and smoke detectors. It is free to obtain from Licenses and Inspections within 60 days prior to the tenancy.