Pennsylvania Real Estate For Landlords
It is a common misconception that all landlords are uber-wealthy business conglomerates. However, landlords are often hard-working individuals relying on their investments to make ends meet. Whether you are a residential or commercial landlord, finding a Pennsylvania real estate attorney you can trust and turn to for all of your real estate advice is crucial. My clients are my top priority. I understand what it means to be a business owner and real estate investor. My clients get individualized attention from me day or night, no matter how large or small their real estate portfolio is. As a landlord attorney, I prioritize being professional, approachable, and available to each of my clients.
The law can sometimes seem sympathetic to tenants, especially residential tenants. However, landlords’ rights are just as important and must be protected.
Generally, the relationship between a landlord and tenant is governed by local, state, and federal law. Tenant and landlord responsibilities are laid out by these laws. Each party has certain rights and obligations. However, walk into any landlord-tenant court around the country, and you will quickly realize there is no lack of disagreements, misunderstandings, or conflicts about what these laws do and do not permit. At the Law Office of Kelvin L. Morris, we can help protect your rights when those conflicts arise.
If you have been a landlord for long enough, you have probably encountered tenants who are not willing to pay their rent and who are not willing to leave the property. Or perhaps you are a new landlord and have not yet encountered these issues. Either way, you should familiarize yourself with eviction rights and procedures.
It’s important to note that a landlord cannot forcibly evict a tenant by simply locking them out of their apartment or removing their belongings. You must follow procedures set by law.
There are several reasons why a landlord may wish to evict a tenant. A few common reasons include the following:
- Nonpayment of rent;
- Criminal activity, such as using or selling illegal drugs on the premises;
- Holdover tenant, which occurs when a tenant’s lease is up, but they refuse to leave; and
- Breach of the lease agreement, such as making major unapproved renovations or modifications to the property.
If any of these grounds for eviction exist, a landlord may evict their tenant through what is known as an action in ejectment. This is a complaint filed in the county court where the property is located to seek eviction of the non-compliant tenant.
The court rules provide strict procedural requirements for the eviction process. Among those is the notice requirement. The landlord must give the tenant at least 15 days of notice before filing the eviction action with the court. Before proceeding with a formal eviction action, the landlord must provide the tenant with the option to either rectify the situation if it can be rectified or to voluntarily leave.
If the situation cannot be resolved, the landlord can file for eviction 30 days later. The court will then grant or deny the request for eviction. If the court grants the request, it will either give the tenant a specific amount of time to vacate the premises or give the tenant 22 days to leave, which is the default amount of time provided by Pennsylvania law.
As a property owner, you may encounter land disputes with your neighbors, or the local, county, or state governments. Land disputes can include easement disputes, zoning issues, and title issues. Property disputes can be costly and time-consuming. An experienced real estate transactions attorney can save you time and money and relieve stress by handling these disputes for you. We are here to assist you in quickly and efficiently resolving any conflict.
Rent Collection Rights
A Pennsylvania real estate attorney can assist you with landlord rent collection rights such as rent increases, rent-related fees, and rent control.
In Pennsylvania, there is no rent control, meaning landlords may increase or change the rent amount as they see fit, with no limit imposed on how much they can increase rent. Additionally, landlords are permitted to charge late fees for late rent. However, there is a fee cap of $50 for a returned check.
Although permissible, increasing the rent or charging fees can create conflict between you and your tenants. Call us for questions about rent increases, costs, or other rent-related issues. We are happy to answer your questions and guide you through how to best carry out your plans.
Security Deposit Rights
As a landlord, you must know your legal rights and duties regarding tenant security deposits. Separate from rent, a landlord may require a security deposit upfront at the start of the lease term. The purpose of a security deposit is for the landlord to use it to cover the cost of repairs. Generally, the security deposit is not used to cover the cost of reasonable wear and tear. Notably, the security deposit money is the tenant’s money, and you must adhere to strict rules when collecting it, including the following rules:
- The maximum security deposit for the first year’s lease is two months of rent;
- You must deposit security payments above $100 into an escrow account, and if the tenant rents for more than two years, they are to receive the interest earned on the account;
- You must return the security deposit must within 30 days of the tenant moving out, or the landlord must send a list of damages and the cost of repairs; and
- Any remaining balance, after repairs, is to be returned to the tenant.
If you are a landlord and are unsure about specific security deposit rules and regulations, I can answer all of your questions.
At the Law Office of Kelvin L. Morris, we can also assist you with the following real estate and landlord needs:
- How to handle abandoned tenant property,
- Fair housing rights and discrimination laws,
- Required landlord disclosures,
- Termination and eviction rules and procedures,
- Real estate documents drafting and review, and
- Much more.
Whether you own residential or commercial property, give us a call and let us do the legwork for you so that you can focus on managing your properties.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Attorney Fighting for Landlords
At the Law Office of Kelvin L. Morris, we understand just how much you have riding on the line as a landlord. Unfortunately, like any other business, owning and renting property often means dealing with disputes and conflict. Rest assured that we are available anytime to assist you. Contact us at a time convenient to you to schedule a consultation.