Tenant Law in Pennsylvania
In Washington, Pennsylvania, relationships between tenants and landlords can occasionally become strained.
Tenants and landlords have numerous legal rights and responsibilities. In general, these rights don't conflict with one another, as long as both parties are clear about what they are, and act accordingly.
Landlord's Rights in Washington, PA
The most basic right that landlords have is the right to be paid the agreed-upon rent by their tenant. Obviously, renting apartments is how landlords make a living, so they are entitled to collect the rent that the tenant agreed to pay.
Landlords also have a right to be free from damage to the rented unit. Tenants are expected not to damage their dwellings, intentionally or negligently. Landlords can deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit. In general, tenants are not responsible for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in Washington, PA
Much like landlords have a right to get paid for the service they provide, tenants have a right to get what they pay for: a suitable place to reside. In Washington, Pennsylvania, all residential rental agreements carry an "implied warranty of habitability." This means that a landlord implicitly guarantees that any residence he or she rents will be fit for human habitation. In general, an unit will be automatically deemed uninhabitable if it lacks running water, electricity, heat, and acceptable protection from the elements. There are numerous more factors that can be considered, as well, but those are some of the basics.
Moreover, tenants are entitled to common areas that are reasonable safe and sanitary. The common areas of an apartment building would contain lobbies, laundry rooms, stairwells, hallways, and fire escapes (essentially, any part of the building which all of the tenants can access). In Washington, Pennsylvania, these areas must be kept reasonably clean and safe.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of Pennsylvania to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can additionally not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
Lastly, the laws of most states safeguard tenants from unfair eviction. In general, as long as a tenant is paying rent on time, and is not damaging the unit, they cannot be evicted before the term of the lease expires, unless there is a very good reason to do so (such as excessive noise caused by the tenant, or illegal activities in the apartment).
Can a Washington, Pennsylvania Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants typically prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for apparent reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Washington, Pennsylvania landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.