Real Estate Lawyers Are Knowledgeable About Landlord-Tenant Disputes
Disputes between landlords and tenants have probably existed ever since the first time one person owned a piece of property and rented it to another. While there are exceptions, there is a built-in adversarial relationship between most landlords and tenants; both parties need something from the other, but the potential for conflict is almost limitless.
Pennsylvania has many regulations governing a landlord’s treatment of a tenant. Tenants have many rights under the law but are obligated to abide by the terms of the leases and rental agreements that they sign. Some of the primary rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants are listed below.
* A landlord is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, family status (usually referring to young children) or disability.
* A landlord can refuse to rent because of information that would make a tenant a bad risk, such as a history of late rent payments or bad references.
* A tenant must be allowed ten days to pay late rent before eviction proceedings can begin.
* During the first rent year, the security deposit cannot exceed two months’ rent.
* If landlords don’t make necessary repairs, the tenant has the right to withhold rent or make the repair, but must do this legally.
* Landlords have the right to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent and violating the lease but must do so legally.
* Tenants need to read and understand their lease or rental agreements. Many disputes arise because of clauses in the agreement the tenant agreed to by signing but did not understand or know about. At the very least, a tenant needs to find out when the landlord would be able to enter the property without notice.
* A lease or rental agreement could include illegal clauses. A landlord cannot ask a tenant to waive the landlord’s responsibility to provide habitable housing, for example. A tenant should have the lease reviewed by experienced real estate lawyers.
* A tenant has the right to complain about an unsafe living condition, but should do this in writing. Landlords are not allowed to evict the tenant or raise the rent because of this complaint.
Many landlord-tenant disputes can be settled with mediation or in small claims court. Real estate lawyers can be of assistance in explaining legal options, particularly for those disputes involving too much money (over $10,000) to settle in small claims court. Contact Legalphilly.com for more information.
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