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Pennsylvania tenants’ rights guide

We’ve been breaking down the rules around common landlord and tenant problems. Here are some useful resources about your rights as a tenant.

These are your rights as a tenant.
These are your rights as a tenant.Read moreCynthia Greer

Landlord and tenant law can be confusing. We’re here to help.

We’ve been breaking down the rules around common landlord and tenant problems. Got a question we haven’t covered? Email us.

Here are some useful resources about your rights as a tenant:

Reading and understanding a lease can sometimes be daunting. But it’s important to avoid potential issues with your tenancy. If you’re applying for an apartment, here’s what you need to look for before you sign.

If you need to move before your lease ends, you may be on the hook for as long as your lease lasts. But there are some situations when you can legally break your lease, and other ways to negotiate with your landlord if you have to move early.

If you have rodents or bugs, who’s responsible can be complicated, but if the infestation is because of defects in the structure, your landlord may have to fix the problems. There’s also something called the “implied warranty of habitability,” which may also come into play. Here’s what you need to know.

Your landlord generally can’t come into your home whenever they feel like it, though some may believe they have that right. But when can they, and can’t they, come into your home? We break it down.

How much can landlords ask for? And when do they have to give you back your money? There are important rules to know about how much money you have to give and when you can get it back.

Withholding rent can be a way to get your landlord to make critical repairs. But you can’t just stop paying rent. Here’s how to do it legally and what you need to know about the process and what happens if your landlord tries to retaliate.

An eviction notice can be extremely stressful. But if you think you may get one, or already have, there are some programs, and people, who can help. Here’s how to get help to stay in your home.

Rent increases are common. But what are the rules? There are no limits on how much your landlord can increase your rent, but there are limits on when they can raise it — and how much notice they have to give you. Here’s when your landlord can raise your rent and by how much.

For many renters, it’s among the worst-case scenarios: Your landlord notifies you that the property has been put up for sale. But what does that mean for your lease? Here’s what happens during a sale or foreclosure.

Finding a home or apartment to rent is stressful under most circumstances, but it can be even more difficult if you have a criminal record. Many landlords, after all, perform criminal background checks as part of the application process, and having a criminal record can legally be grounds for denial. Here’s what you need to know.

If you have a disability, you have the right to reasonable accommodation, whether you’re looking for an apartment or you already live in one. That could mean alterations to the property — like if you need a ramp to help with mobility — or you need an exception to a landlord’s policy, like paying the rent on a different day to accommodate disability assistance checks, or you need a support animal, and your property has a no-pet policy. But how does it work and what happens if your landlord won’t help? Here’s what you need to know.

If you identify as LGBTQ, you’re much more likely to face discrimination in many facets of your life. But what about for housing? Can a landlord evict you — or refuse to rent to you in the first place — because of your sexual orientation or gender identity? No. Philadelphia has strong protections for LGBTQ renters, and there are also both state and federal protections that can help. If you think you’ve been discriminated against, or you need to know where you can reach out for help, we have a full guide to help you understand your rights, and what recourse you have.

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016. But what does that mean for your housing situation? It’s complicated. Because marijuana is still illegal federally, using it could mean you’re not eligible for public housing, or that a landlord could evict you or refuse to rent to you in the first place. The essential advice: Check what your lease says, and consider the consequences when you’re deciding whether to disclose your status to a new or existing landlord.

If there are bills that are in your landlord’s name, and they stop paying them, what happens to you? There are rules to help protect tenants if they get a notice that a utility is going to be shut off. Here’s what to do if that happens.

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