Below you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Pennsylvania’s Landlord Tenant laws. We are not intending to provide legal advice, instead, point you in the right direction! You can review the complete Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Statutes for residential here.
How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in Pennsylvania?
In the state of Pennsylvania, for a lease that is one year or less in length, a landlord can give a tenant 15-day notice to leave. For leases over one year, landlords can give a 30-day notice to leave from the date the lease ends. If you own a mobile park, the rules do vary and we suggest you read Section 250.501 – C, to determine what is different and how the rules vary.
More reading: Visit the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act and scroll to Section 250.501, Notice to quit.
How much notice does a landlord have to give before entering a property in Pennsylvania?
There are no requirements for a landlord to notify their tenants that they will be entering the property. This does not mean you can visit the property whenever you want! While many states do set parameters—Florida, for example—without mandated guidelines, this can be tricky.
We don’t suggest that a landlord enters without permission in Pennsylvania. Instead, landlords should give tenants at least 24-hour notice of entry to the property. A 24-hour notice is generally deemed a reasonable notice of entry. Additionally, your lease should define what “reasonable notice” is. This is the best thing you can do to protect yourself as a landlord and ensures the tenant agrees to this as a reasonable notification of entry.
As a side note, a 24-hour warning is common practice in states with requirements and also helps to maintain positive landlord-tenant relationships.
Is Pennsylvania a landlord-friendly state?
To make a state either landlord or tenant-friendly, the state’s laws must favor one or the other more with legal rules and repercussions. RentRedi places Pennsylvania as a landlord-friendly state due to rules that allow for landlords to have more control over the landlord-tenant interactions. Two examples being that a landlord is not required to give notification to enter a premise and that a landlord is only required to provide a 15-day notification to a tenant to leave a property if a lease is one year or less in length.
What do landlords need to know about security deposits in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania outlines security deposit rules for leases of different lengths. For a lease that is one year in length, a landlord cannot require more than two months of rent to act as a deposit. During the second and subsequent years of the lease or during any renewal of the original lease the amount requires to be deposited cannot exceed one month’s rent.
Note that rules change if a lease moves into three years or a third subsequent year, or during any renewal after the expiration of two years of tenancy. At three years, you can require a security deposit of one month’s rent, however, upon the termination of the lease or if a tenant had to be forcibly removed, the deposit, with interest, shall be returned to the tenant.
Rules to understand with security deposits include rules around where a security deposit is held and the interest accrued on the monies. When you have tenants for longer than two years, new rules regarding where you hold a security deposit do apply. We recommend that you take a look at Section 250.511 – B if you fall into this category, as you are required to pay the tenants any interest accrued on their security deposit. And congratulations on having long-term tenants!
The last component of security deposits is when a tenant vacates a property. When it comes time for a tenant to leave a property, as a landlord in Pennsylvania you have 30 days to provide a tenant with a written list of any damages to the premises found during your move-out inspection. Along with providing a written list of damages and the amount you are withholding from the security deposit return, you will also need to return the remaining balance before the 30 day time period is over.
We recommend that you place a reminder in your calendar for dates like this, in the state of Pennsylvania, if you don’t provide a written list of damages and a refund before the 30-day window is up, landlords must return the entire security deposit.
More reading: Visit the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act and scroll to Section 250.511 – A, Escrow funds limited and Section 250.512, Recovery of improperly held escrow funds.
Can a landlord evict a tenant without going to court in Pennsylvania?
When a tenant fails to pay rent or move out in an appropriate time, a Pennsylvania landlord is required to provide the tenant with an eviction notice. The landlord must give the tenant written notice of the reason for the eviction and the date that the landlord wants the tenant to vacate the premises. The eviction notice must be personally delivered to the tenant or posted on the dwelling in order to get the eviction process started. If a tenant fails to leave the premises, the actions a landlord must take are outlined in the Landlord and Tenant Act, and the next step is that a landlord would file a complaint with their appropriate District Justice’s office.
As a landlord, it is important to outline and include eviction rules in your lease agreement in order to have an agreement to fall back on. Meet with a Pennsylvania lawyer to ensure you have evictions properly covered in any legal agreement.
More reading: Visit the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act and scroll to Section 250.502, Summons and service and Section 250.503, Hearing; judgment; writ of possession; payment of rent by tenant.
Can you charge eviction fees in Pennsylvania?
During the eviction process, a tenant can repay rent owed to a landlord to stop the proceedings. Any other fees, as a result of court proceedings, should be outlined by the court.
More reading: Visit the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act and scroll to Section 250.503, Hearing; judgment; writ of possession; payment of rent by tenant.
What is the most a landlord can increase rent in Pennsylvania?
There are no limitations on how much a landlord can raise the rent in the state of Pennsylvania. As a landlord, while this is good information to have, it is important to remember that you are supplying a market with a resource and there is a price the market demands.
See our Ultimate Guide to Managing Rentals to understand your market prices will help to price your property to avoid vacancy and lost cash flow.
What is the maximum late fee allowed by law in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania does not outline any late fee requirements or limitations on late rent. This means that landlords are responsible for outlining late fees in the lease agreement and keeping reasonable late fees, such as a flat rate or a percentage of the total monthly rent if rent is paid after the due date.
Using tools like RentRedi’s automatic late fees can ensure landlords remain compliant with the late fees stated in your lease.
Are landlords required to paint or replace the carpet in between tenants in Pennsylvania?
When it comes to maintaining a property, common questions that landlords and tenants ask are: “Is a landlord required to paint the interior of a property in between tenants?” or “Is a landlord required to replace the carpet in between tenants?”
While the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act do not outline specific requirements for upkeep on properties, the landlord is required to provide “reasonable care” to ensure the property is safe to use.
Typically, landlords do paint the property and replace damaged or worn carpeting regardless of its relation to safety, because it makes the rental more appealing to prospects.
More reading: Visit the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act and scroll to Section 250.502-A, Landlord’s duties.
Resources for Complete Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws:
Read more of our state landlord tenant law guides here.
Note: This content is not intended to substitute, replace, or be construed as professional legal advice. It is for referential purposes only and not meant to replace the advice of your legal counsel, legal representation, and or lawyer. Please consult your professional legal representation or lawyer to be sure your lease is compliant with any state and/or federal laws.