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Rights of Renters in Pennsylvania

By Karen Godfrey

Renting has its benefits, but it can also be aggravating if you do not have a good landlord. If you are dealing with an inattentive, careless, or difficult landlord, know that you do have rights. In the state of Pennsylvania there are requirements that your landlord has to adhere to, just like you are required to adhere to your end of the contract.

If you are being evicted without cause, you have the right to appear in court after receiving a formal summons, and provide proof that the landlord has no right to evict you. If you are unsure that you may or may not have a case, it is best to appear in court to dispute your side. If the judge does not have strong documentation from the landlord of any wrong doing on your part, most likely you will win. Please know that your landlord never has the right to come one the property and just ask you to leave. He/She has to file it through the courts first.

The landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the property, interior and exterior. You have the right to live in a safe, clean environment. If he/she is not complying after two or more requests, and given a reasonable amount of time, it may be time to call your city's health inspector.

You have the right to have guests. Most leases will outline the requirements of the tenant if a guest stays overnight for a certain number of days, or weeks. Your landlord never has the right to question why you are having guests over for dinner, or social gatherings.

The right to file a complaint if neighbors are being disruptive. If you have neighbors that can't keep the noise down, buy or sell, illegal drugs on property, or intimidate you, you have the right to file a complaint to your landlord. Your landlord also has a responsibility to keep you the reporter anonymous.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, and your landlord does not cooperate, contact your local housing office, and begin legal proceedings to terminate your lease.

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