Americans are feeling the crunch from inflation and rising prices. In fact, more than 8 million people are behind on rent payments. This amounts to 15% of all renters not being current on their payments.
Many renters were relying on a national moratorium on evictions for protection. However, this moratorium expired and a return to the status quo has set in.
It is imperative that renters and property managers understand housing laws in Pennsylvania. Read on to learn all about tenant’s rights in Pennsylvania. Explore topics related to Pennsylvania housing such as housing rights and being a landlord.
What Are Housing Rights?
Property managers and landlords both need to be cognizant of Pennsylvania tenants' rights. Under current housing laws, tenants are guaranteed some basic rights when they enter into a lease or rental agreement.
In the case Pugh vs. Holmes in 1979, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania weighed in on state housing law. This landmark case provides the legal guidance for a tenant’s rights in the states.
At the center of the case is a legal concept called implied warranty of hospitality. The Supreme Court ruled that landlords are responsible for making repairs within a reasonable amount of time.
Tenants are given legal recourse in the event that the landlord does not make repairs in a reasonable amount of time. If the habitability of the property is deemed unfit by the local health board, a tenant can withhold rent.
Adjustments to rent payments are also allowable under the law. The cost of repairs should not exceed the rent payment owed under the lease agreement.
How Is a Repair Initiated?
A tenant is required to provide written notice that a repair or maintenance task is necessary. The turnaround time for repair ultimately depends on how significant of an issue it is.
A minor repair that does not affect the property’s habitability is allowed more time. Emergency repairs that do affect habitability need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Also, it's important that tenants give the landlord access to the property to make the repairs. At the same time, landlords cannot legally arrive unannounced. They should provide advanced notice that they are coming.
What Are Some Tips for Being a Landlord?
Landlords and property managers should strive for their tenants to live in safe and habitable homes. Major appliances like air conditioners need to operate safely. This also applies to utilities such as electricity and natural gas.
When notified of an issue, landlords and property managers should attempt to assess and repair it within a reasonable amount of time. If a tenant attempts to exercise a right, landlords should not try to retaliate. Retaliation attempts include intentional efforts to delay repair or raise prices on a future rental agreement.
What Do You Need to Know About Tenant’s Rights in PA?
As a property manager, your priority is making sure that the tenant lives in a habitable home. While you do not need to drop everything to make a repair, it needs to be handled quickly. The severity of the issue dictates just how quickly to act.
If you want to learn more about tenant’s rights in Pennsylvania, contact us today to speak with a professional.