Residential leases are a practical and affordable alternative to home ownership.  If you are currently a landlord or tenant you will find yourself in a position where you will require legal guidance.  Whether it is an issue about a security deposit, the need for a review of a lease, or a pending landlord-tenant case, I can help you.  I am experienced in Pennsylvania landlord-tenant law and have effectively represented both property owners and renters in Pennsylvania.  So, if you rent your property, or, if you are renting a property, and require legal advice or representation, contact me to schedule a consultation.

As a tenant, you have certain rights under Pennsylvania law.  For example, you need to be told where your security deposit is being held, i.e. what financial institution it was deposited with.  Additionally, with respect to security deposits, there is a limit on the amount that a landlord can hold, and a requirement that the deposit be returned within 30 days after the tenant has surrendered the property.  If money is withheld from the security deposit, as a tenant you have a right to know why.  

A lot of times, landlords will try and withhold all or part of your security deposit because of damage claims.  As a tenant you need to be mindful that your landlord cannot withhold money from your security deposit for ordinary wear and tear.  Some examples of this are:  curtains faded by the sun, small holes or nicks in the wall, and ordinary rug wear.  If your security deposit was withheld because of ordinary wear and tear you should let us help you.

Another tip is that you should take pictures of your rental before you move in, and after you move out.  That way, if you do need to move forward with a hearing you can establish the state of the property at move-in and move-out.  Also, you should consider hiring a professional cleaning service so that you can be sure that your rental is thoroughly cleaned, and there will be a record that it was professionally cleaned.  This kind of documentation is useful should you ever need to dispute the withholding of your security deposit in court.

Eviction is another common issue in the landlord-tenant relationship.  In order for a landlord to evict you from your rental, whether because of a breach of a condition of your lease or for non-payment of rent, you must be properly served with a notice to quit and afforded 10 days before an eviction lawsuit is filed.  Therefore, if you get notice to quit your rental, it is imperative that you get proper legal counsel as soon as possible.  I can advise on whether you have been properly served, and what your next steps should be, given your particular circumstances.

If you are a property owner or a tenant in a dispute, contact me today so that I can help you preserve and defend your rights.