A properly prepared Pennsylvania residential lease agreement is an essential step to renting out a property. Create and customize your own rental contract now with step-by-step guidance.
Last Update August 2nd, 2021
What is a Pennsylvania Lease Agreement
A Pennsylvania lease agreement is an important legal contract used to rent out real estate for a specified period of time. This document is designed to conform to the residential and property laws in PA to ensure that both the landlord and the tenant are legally protected.
Once this template is filled in and signed, it becomes binding for both parties. The lease will ultimately police how the property may be used, what expenses must be paid, and how long it may be used by the tenant.
Types of PA Lease Agreements
There are several different types of lease agreements that can be used in Pennsylvania. These vary depending on the type of property being leased and the nature of the agreement between the landlord and tenant.
The most commonly used lease agreements in PA are the following:
Standard residential lease agreement: This leases the property to the tenant for a fixed term, during which the contract cannot be changed.
Month-to-month lease agreements: These are more flexible than standard agreements and are renewed on a monthly basis.
Roommate lease agreements: If the landlord wishes to rent a room in the home that they live in, they may use a roommate agreement to cover this.
Subleasing agreements: These kinds of rental contracts are used when a tenant wishes to rent the property they are leasing to a subtenant. This can usually be only be done with the express permission of the landlord.
Commercial lease agreements: This kind of agreement is signed between a landlord of commercial property and any business which wishes to operate from these premises.
It is crucial to understand and comply with the laws of Pennsylvania when creating lease agreements and renting a property in the state. There are certain important rules that must be followed by landlords in this undertaking:
Security deposits: Landlords in Pennsylvania can only charge up to 2 months’ rent as a deposit amount. This sum of money must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of the end of the lease; with or without deductions for damages.
Landlord’s entry: In Pennsylvania, there are no statutes governing how much notice a landlord must give a tenant before entering the premises. However, it is recommended to provide at least 24 hours’ notice as a courtesy.
Pennsylvania Required Disclosures
Pennsylvania state requires that lease agreements include a number of important disclosures. These are provided on the contract to inform the tenant about specific rights that are enshrined in the laws of the state.
On your PA residential lease agreement, you must include the following sections and addendums:
Capacity for Landlord to Distrain for Rent: This explains that the landlord may seize the personal property of the tenant if they do not pay the rent on time. However, it also stipulates that the landlord must give five (5) days’ written notice before doing so and exempts certain items from seizure. Furthermore, it forbids any collection of possessions from taking place between 7 am and 7 pm on a Sunday.
Consumer Notice for Tenants: If the licensee showing the property (such as a real estate agent) has an interest in the property (e.g. they are the owner, related to the owner, or work for the owner) they must disclose the fact during their first meeting with the tenant.
Lead-Based Paint: Under federal law, you must disclose whether or not lead-based paint can be found on the property if it was built before 1979. You must also provide the tenant with a government pamphlet on the dangers of lead paint.
Pennsylvania Lease Agreement FAQs
There’s much to know when creating your own Pennsylvania lease agreement. Use our FAQs below to get further details on what you must include and how these essential legal contracts work.
What Is the Difference Between a Rental and a Lease Agreement?
The key difference between a Pennsylvania lease agreement and a rental agreement is the length of the contract. Leases are most often fixed-term arrangements that last 6 months or more. Rental agreements on the other hand are much more flexible as they renew on a monthly or even weekly basis.
How Much Can the Landlord Raise the Rent?
Once a fixed-term lease agreement has been signed the landlord cannot change the amount of the rent. However, in some cities and counties, there are limits on how much a landlord may increase rent. This applies to monthly agreements or when a new lease is being negotiated.
Where rent control rules apply, landlords must provide tenants with a minimum amount of written notice (usually around 30 days) before increasing their rent. They must also ensure that the rise in these costs do not exceed the amount allowed by local statutes.
Before planning any rental increases it is advised to check which laws apply to you. You can find out this information from your local residential association.
What Terms Are Illegal in a Lease Agreement?
There are some terms that may not be added to a lease agreement. They are considered illegal and will invalidate the agreement. These include the following provisions:
Waivers that prevent the tenant from suing the landlord.
Provisions that allow the landlord unrestricted entry to the property beyond what the law allows.
Any terms that waive the tenant’s right to having their security deposit returned.
When is Rent Considered Late?
The lease agreement will normally stipulate a due date on which rent must be paid. Unless the contract details any grace periods, rent that is not paid on this date will be considered late and penalty fees or eviction proceedings may be considered.