Pennsylvania Rental Lease Agreements
The Pennsylvania Rental Lease Agreements are legal contracts that grant tenant(s) the right to live or work in a property so long they make continuous rental payments to their landlord. In order for the lease to go into effect, the tenant(s) must agree to all conditions included in the lease, which covers subjects relating to payments, deposits, pets, guests, parking, default, lease term, notices, and more. Pennsylvania landlords are bound by the state’s landlord-tenant act of 1951, which contains the obligations of landlords and tenants, among other requirements.
Commercial Lease Agreement (Association of Realtors) – Used for forming a legally-binding relationship with a business-owning tenant over the lease of commercially-zoned property.
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Lease-Purchase Agreement – Acts as a standard lease, but includes provisions that permit the tenant(s) to purchase the leased property (if they so choose).
Month-to-Month Lease Agreement – Similar to a standard lease, but does not contain a set end-date. Instead, either the landlord or tenant(s) can end the agreement by giving a notice of one (1) month.
Roommate Agreement – Prevents conflict among tenants that share a single rented premises (or common room/area). Lays out cleaning duties, quiet hours, and guest policies, to name a few.
Standard Residential Lease Agreement – The official state form for leasing property in yearly increments. Complies with all PA lease laws.
Sublease Agreement – A secondary lease formed between the original tenant to a property and a new tenant, who will live in the rental and take on any required payments. The original tenant should receive permission from their landlord prior to using the form.
What is a Pennsylvania Lease Agreement?
A Pennsylvania Lease Agreement is a binding form that lays out the responsibilities and rights of the two (2) parties that the agreement is formed by—the landlord and tenant(s). The responsibilities and rights of both parties last for the duration of the contract, which is commonly one (1) year. Prior to beginning a lease with a tenant, it is highly recommended the landlord screens them via a Federal Fair Housing Act-approved rental application.
State Definition – No state definition.
State Laws & Guides
Landlord-Tenant Guides / Handbooks
When is Rent Due?
Pennsylvania state law is silent on when rent should be paid by tenants. Because of this, the rental contract should it clear when and where rent should be paid. State law is also silent on matters regarding rent grace periods.
Emergency: No statute. As a general rule, Federal law protects landlord’s right to enter a rental unit/building in the event of an emergency.
Non-Emergency: No statute. The conditions of entry in non-emergency situations should be stated in the lease. Landlords are recommended to provide tenants with at least twenty-four (24) hours notice prior to making 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.
Maximum (§ 250.511a): The maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit is dependent on the term of the lease. During the first (1st) year of the lease, the maximum security deposit a landlord may demand is two (2) months’ rent. During the second (2nd) and any later years of the lease, or during any renewal of the original lease, the security deposit cannot exceed one (1) months’ 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.”
Deposit Interest (§ 250.511b): Tenants are entitled to receiving interest from their deposit on the anniversary of the signed lease. For administrative expenses, landlords can collect one percent (1%) per year.