Pennsylvania Rental Laws

Written on April 4, 2014 by , updated on November 14, 2017

Flag of PennsylvaniaThis article summarizes some key Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing and you have a responsibility to perform your own research when applying the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney-referral service that is operated by the state bar association or county bar associations.

Official Rules, Regulations & Guides

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: 2 month’s rent during the first year of renting, 1 month’s rent during any subsequent years. (68 P.S. §§ 250.511a)
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days of termination of a lease or upon surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever first occurs. (68 P.S. §§ 250.512)
  • Security Deposit Interest: The tenant is entitled to interest after the second anniversary of giving a deposit. The landlord shall be entitled to receive as administrative expenses, a sum equivalent to one per cent per annum upon the security money so deposited, paid to the tenant annually upon the anniversary date (3rd year) of the commencement of his lease. (68 P.S. §§ 250.511b(b))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Required (68 P.S. §§ 250.511b)
    • Funds held for more than 2 years and funds over $100 must be deposited in an escrow account federally or state-regulated institution.
    • The landlord must notify the tenants in writing the name and address of the banking institution in which such deposits are held, and the amount of such deposits.
  • Nonrefundable Fees: No Statute
  • Application Fees: No Statute. Use Cozy to avoid having to charge application fees.
  • Non-refundable or Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Itemized List of Move-Out Damages and Charges: Within 30 days, landlord shall provide a tenant with a written list of any damages to for which the landlord claims the tenant is liable, along with a refund of all remaining deposit funds. (68 P.S. §§ 250.512)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Failure to Comply:
    • Any landlord who fails to provide a written list within thirty days, the landlord shall forfeit all rights to withhold any portion of the deposit, including any unpaid interest thereon, or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the leasehold premises. (68 P.S. §§ 250.512(b))
    • If the landlord fails to return the remaining deposit, after withholdings, within 30 days, the landlord may be liable for double the deposit amount plus interest. (68 P.S. §§ 250.512(c))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • When Rent Is Due: No Statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: Allowed, but it shall not exceed $50 unless the landlord is charged fees in excess of $50 by financial institutions, upon which the landlord can charge the actual amount of the fees. I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to reduce late payments.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, when an government agency or department certifies that a dwelling is uninhabitable, the tenant can elect to deposit rent into an escrow account rather than pay the landlord directly. (68 P.S. §§ 250.206)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: No Statute
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages Caused by Leasee: No Statute
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: (Act of Jul. 5, 2012, P.L. 1091, No. 129)
    • The landlord must send a notice to the tenant stating that personal property has been left behind with contact information for the landlord. The tenant then has ten days from the date of postmark of the notice to contact the landlord.
    • If the tenant does contact with landlord within the ten day period, the landlord must allow the tenant a total of thirty days (the first ten plus twenty more) to get the items. After the first ten days, the landlord may move the items to another location and charge the tenant for storage.
    • If the tenant does not contact the landlord within ten days, the landlord may dispose of the items and have no further responsibility for them.
    • The law applies when either (1) the landlord has received a judgment in an eviction case and has executed an order for possession, or (2) the tenant has given written notice that he has left the home.

Notices & Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – A year or less or for an indeterminate time: 15 days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – More than a year: 30 days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 15 days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b))
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Notice of Termination of a Lease for Nonpayment: 10 Days (68 P.S. §§ 250.501(b))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: No Statute
  • Required Notice before Entry: No exact amount of time is specified but generally 24 hours is recommended.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (nonemergency): No Statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No Statute, but no state allows this.
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No Statute, but no state allows this.

Disclosures & Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet (pdf) on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No Statute
  • Retaliation: A landlord must not terminate, refuse to renew a lease, or fine a tenant for being involved in a tenant’s organization. (68 P.S. §§ 250.205)

Court & Legal Related:

Business Licenses:

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1,049 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • keith webb

    I have a tenant living in a property, I rent to her. She has a cat, which is spraying throughout the house . The place reeks of cat urine. What can I do? I know all carpeting will need replaced, and who knows what else. I only made her pay a very small security deposit, which will not dent the repairs that will need done.

  • Sarah

    We included our email, cell and new address with our 60 Day Notice, last month’s rent, and when I returned keys. There was no walkthrough. 40 days passed after end of lease, no letter no deposit returned. Sent demand letter. Received response that had sent letter and a copy. The letter stated owner keeping all deposit due to smell and pet damage. Pets were allowed. But we had house prof. clean, no damage or smells. No itemization, just 3 sentences. Does this count as legal letter? And they didn’t send certified. Also rented 27 months, no bank info given no interest. Would we have a case to get our deposit back? Can they counter sue for more since not itemized? Thank you. P.S. we sent all communications certified mail.

  • Megan

    So ive been living at my home for almost 2 yrs now and it was put up for Sale almost a year ago and it had finally sold. The real estate company I rent from told me that I have to be out by Feb 25th which is before my lease is up, but they would like to relocate me to one of their other rental properties. I asked today about using my security deposit for this home for another home they had showed me and offered me today. However, I was told that they normally dont do that and they have to see if the owner will release it. Im just curious as to why this is? Why cant or arent I getting my security deposit back after 2 years, and on top of that they are the ones wanting to relocate me asap.

  • anna BROOKS


    I wanted to know in the State of PA Delaware County, Are the landlords required to have to heat in the bathrooms?? I was told NO. I have never heard of that and I called a contractor due to plumbing issues that can occur and they said that it doesn’t make sense for pipes to be hot in one area of the apartment and not the other and that it can cause a pipe burst in the unit or worst. I want to know if this is legal to say to a tenant. because they do not want to resolve the issue. The bathroom freezes exactly like if you were outside it’s hard to take a bath and it’s a good thing I don’t have small children. This is not right and I need help and resolving this issue.

    Thank you

  • Michelle

    We recently evicted our tenants for non-payment for 2 months, we had a 6 month lease agreement. They also took the heating unit, dryer vent, shower head, kitchen cabinets, and carpeting from the property. We filed a claim and we LOST! The judge is the new neighbor of our old tenants. My question is, we had a signed lease…..does this mean NOTHING!!??
    The house is now unrentable…….and we are out court costs on top of it all.

  • Nicole

    My landlord and I don’t have a written lease I pay him on a week to week basics I’m currently one day late on rent because I lost my job .In the past few weeks he begame stalking me calling all the time checkin in a me on Facebook and driving by and coming inside without notice.He ‘s now saying I can not have any over night guest and that I can not tutor my neighbor’s children that pay me and not only in this home but at all and telling me that if he see me hanging out with the neighbors who I’ve become friends with that he’ll kick me out .I don’t know what to do can he kick me out because of who I’m friends with,can he tell me who and who can’t come over or that I can’t have a sleep over and most importantly can he just come over ?

  • Jonathan Tompkins

    I live in Pennsylvania and have a joint and several lease with my tenant, if the tenant fails to pay rent they violate the lease. That’s a fact, however in my lease it states “if the tenant violates the lease each tenant agrees to waive notice to quit. This means the landlord may file a complaint in court asking for an order evicting each tenant from the lease without giving each tenant notice to quit first” is this statement true?

  • Jacqueline Smith

    Hello,,I was supposed to move into the property on February 1st, on February 1st I went into the property and it was water all over, the real estate claim to fix it. I did a final walkthrough, and I made a list of things that I needed to be fixed before I could move in. Now I called the gas company to have the gas turned on and the gas company refuse to cut the gas on because multiple gas leaks. Do I have the right to look at another property because I don’t have a good feeling about this.


    This is for a friend.
    Her mother owned & lived in a home and the mother had a boyfriend living there. The mother passed away and the home went to the daughter (my friend) and now he refuses to move out. She has not charged him, or has he offered to pay any rent. His name has never been on any type of lease but had received mail there.
    What legal recourse does she have at this point?

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