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Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Laws

A summary of Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.

Security Deposit Limit

The equivalent of up to two months rent may be charged for the security deposit for the first year and then a maximum of one month’s rent should tenancy last more than a year. Any security deposits collected for more than $100 must be deposited in a federally- or state-regulated institution. The landlord must give the name and address of the financial institution and the amount of the deposit to the tenant. If the tenancy lasts for more than two years, interest must be paid to the tenant beginning on the 25th month.

Deadline for Returning Security Deposit

The security deposit must be returned within 30 days after the tenant has vacated the property.

Small Claims Lawsuits

Depending on the jurisdiction in Pennsylvania, there are two courts that can hear landlord-tenant disputes not exceeding $12,000, a District Justice Court or Philadelphia Municipal Court.

Late Fees

Pennsylvania state laws do not address late fees, so it is up to both parties to agree usually by having those terms specified in the lease agreement.

Increasing Rent

Pennsylvania state laws also do not cover rent increases, so the only way to change the rent is by having both parties agree either when the lease is executed or modified.

Tenant’s Right to Withhold Rent

Rent may only be withheld according to see 68 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 250.206; 35 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1700-1. To see a case law example on fixing neglected problems and deducting the cost from the monthly rent payment, see Pugh v. Holmes, 405 A.2d 897 (1979).

Termination and Eviction

68 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann., § 250.501(b) allows a landlord to serve the tenant with a 10 day unconditional notice to quit for nonpayment of rent.

A 15 day unconditional quit notice may be used for a lease of 1 year or less or a lease term of an unspecified amount of time. If the tenancy was for more than a year, the tenant has 30 days to quit for any violations of the terms of the lease.

68 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann., §§ 250.501(d) and 250.505-A authorizes a 10 day unconditional quit notice if the tenant is convicted for the illegal sale, manufacture, or distribution of an illegal drug; repeated use of an illegal drug; or seizure by law enforcement of an illegal drug within the leased premises

Domestic Violence

23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6108 empowers the court to grant possession of residence to the plaintiff, and evict defendant, if the residence is jointly owned or leased by the parties, is owned or leased by the entireties, or owned or leased solely by the plaintiff.

Pennsylvania Lease Agreement

See Pennsylvania Residential Lease.

Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes

68 Pennsylvania Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 250.101 to 399.18.