Understanding your rights as a tenant is essential for anyone renting in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it’s something that many tenets do not fully comprehend. Without comprehensive knowledge of their rights, scores of Philadelphians are left vulnerable to having their rights trampled and their ignorance leveraged against them.
One of the best steps that any renter in Philadelphia can take is to consult a tenants rights lawyer in Philadelphia. Meeting with an attorney to review a situation you’re entering, in, or exiting is a great way to learn how to protect yourself in the future. These are some of the rights tenets have in Philadelphia:
Fair Housing Laws
Tenants in Philadelphia are protected by fair housing laws. They prohibit discrimination based on the following categories:
- National origin
- Familial status
Landlords must adhere to these laws during the rental process, including advertising, application screening, and lease agreements.
Philadelphia mandates that properties be kept in habitable conditions by landlords. That means the property must be clear of hazards and have functional plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Landlords who fail to provide habitable domiciles for their tenants or to make repairs when requested can be subject to legal penalties, including having rent withheld.
Security deposits in Philadelphia are strictly regulated. The law requires landlords to return deposits within 30 days of a lease termination. Written itemizations of any deductions must be presented. Security deposits are capped at two months’ rent for the first year of a lease, and one month’s rent for every year thereafter.
Tenants in Philadelphia have the right to privacy within their rented dwellings. Landlords are required by law to provide a minimum of 24 hours notice before entering a rental unit for non-emergency purposes. This allows tenants the chance to prepare and maintain a sense of security within their domiciles.
While rent control in the traditional sense doesn’t exist in Philadelphia, certain protections do. The Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission handles this concern. They monitor and handle excessive rent increases and discriminatory practices. This ensures that arbitrary and unfair rent hikes aren’t forced upon tenants.
The foundation of any landlord-tenant relationship is the lease agreement. In Philadelphia, tenants have the right to be given written leases, which must clearly outline the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement. Details about rent, security deposits, maintenance responsibilities, and rules or regulations the landlord imposes are all included in leases.
The law protects tenants from retaliation by landlords for flexing their rights. If tenants report code violations, request necessary repairs, or participate in tenant organizations, landlords cannot retaliate through actions like evictions or rent increases.
Philadelphia law states that tenants are entitled to due process in the event of eviction. Proper legal procedures must be adhered to by landlords. They’re required to provide written notice and to file eviction actions through the local courts. Tenants’ rights allow them to contest evictions in court and present their cases.
Lead Paint Disclosure
Philadelphia has created various legal measures to protect tenants from environmental hazards. This means landlords must inform tenants when lead-based paint hazards are present in properties built before 1978. This allows tenants to make informed choices, especially when young children are in the household.
In Philadelphia, landlords can terminate a lease or not renew a lease, with 60 days’ notice for a year-to-year lease and 15 days’ notice for a month-to-month lease. This allows tenants ample time to make alternative housing arrangements.