Pennsylvania Rental Lease Agreements
The Pennsylvania Rental Lease Agreements are legal contracts that categorically state the terms by which the lease of a residential property may be made. The scope of each contract may vary, but there are certain provisions that are standard to all, such as the obligations landlords and tenants have to uphold.
In consideration for the fact that Pennsylvania landlord-tenant laws do not provide guidance on certain fundamental matters, including the conditions by which landlords can access the property, the written lease agreement should outline these matters clearly.
Types of Agreements
College (Dorm) Roommate Agreement – A document that spells out the way in which college roommates should attend to a number of matters such as guest visiting hours and the use of shared facilities.
Commercial Lease Agreement (Association of Realtors)– This document carries the purpose of forming a legally-binding relationship as well as related obligations between a landlord with a commercial property and a business that will rent it.
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Lease – Purchase Agreement – To aid the passage of a tenant purchasing a rental property from a landlord, both parties should complete a Lease to Own Agreement.
Month-to-Month Lease Agreement – Given that not all landlords nor tenants want to enter into a long-term lease, this agreement provides the option for a shorter term lease characterized by flexible rental terms.
Roommate Agreement – This document paves the way for roommates to get on the same page about their duties and conduct in their shared household.
Standard Residential Lease Agreement – A contract that represents the laws of Pennsylvania regarding landlord-tenant relations.
Sublease Agreement – Given the complexity of the subleasing process, parties to the sublease should establish the conditions for their arrangement using this document.
What is a Pennsylvania Lease Agreement?
A Pennsylvania Lease Agreement is a legally-binding document that lays out the responsibilities and rights of the two parties involved in the agreement—the landlord and the tenant. The responsibilities and rights of both parties last for the duration of the contract, so it is vital that a landlord is discerning when selecting a tenant. To aid the selection process, landlords are advised to require tenants to complete a rental application.
State Definition – No state definition.
When is Rent Due?
As state law is silent on the matter of when rent should be paid by the tenant, the rental contract should make this clear. State law is likewise silent on the matter of a grace period.
Emergency: There is no state statute on the matter of landlord access to the property in emergency situations. However, federal law provides landlords with the right to enter in emergency situations without prior consent from the tenant.
Non-Emergency: There is also no state statute regarding landlord access to the property in non-emergency situations. The conditions of entry in non-emergency situations should, therefore, be stated in the lease agreement. Landlords are recommended to provide tenants with at least twenty-four (24) hours notice prior to entry.
Lead Paint Disclosure: Landlords must disclose to tenants of any known lead paint hazards in rental properties built before 1978. They must additionally provide them with a brochure on the topic.
Security Deposit Laws
Maximum (§ 250.511a): The maximum amount a landlord may charge a tenant for a security deposit is dependent on the duration of the lease. During the first (1st) year of any lease, the maximum security deposit a landlord may demand is two (2) months’ rent. During the second (2nd) and any subsequent years of the lease, or during any renewal of the original lease, the security deposit may not exceed one (1) month’s rent.
Returning to Tenant (§ 250.512): A landlord must return a security deposit to a tenant within thirty (30) days of termination of a lease or upon surrender and acceptance of the leasehold premises, whichever first occurs.
Should the landlord plan to retain any portion of the deposit as compensation for damages caused by the tenant, they must provide the tenant with a written list of such damages. The delivery of the list must be accompanied by “payment of the difference between any sum deposited in escrow, including any unpaid interest thereon, for the payment of damages to the leasehold premises and the actual amount of damages to the leasehold premises caused by the tenant.”