Know Your Rights: AG Shapiro Releases Consumer Guide, Educating Pennsylvanians on Rights under Tenant and Landlord Law

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HARRISBURG, PA — Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced his office released a new consumer guide outlining the legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Pennsylvania. The Office of Attorney General prepared the Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights to ensure every Pennsylvania resident has access to clear and accurate information when renting a home. The guide also provides information on state and federal resources that can offer additional information or assistance to Pennsylvania renters.

“Renting a home or apartment can be a significant and stressful process,” said AG Shapiro. “It is made only more difficult if you don’t understand the laws that govern landlords and tenants in Pennsylvania. Our guide clearly and concisely outlines those laws so Pennsylvanians can rent with confidence. Anyone who has questions about the information in our guide, or who feels that their rights may have been violated, should reach out to my office.”

The Office of Attorney General’s Consumers Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights provides an overview of state and federal legal requirements that govern the landlord-tenant relationship. Its publication is part of a larger initiative by the Office of Attorney General to help tenants maneuver a competitive rental market with rising costs.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, OAG made it clear to landlords that Pennsylvanians could not be evicted from their homes during a state of emergency, and AG Shapiro wrote to landlords and mortgage lenders to urge them to allow time for Pennsyslvanians to get back on their feet.

In 2022, OAG secured $25,000 in restitution for tenants, many of them students, who were taken advantage of by a State College landlord. McKinney Properties Inc. was alleged to have illegally charged a 15% Administrative Charge on top of damage/cleaning/painting charges. That kind of added surcharge is illegal under the Landlord-Tenant Act.

In addition to outlining discrimination prohibited by law, the Consumers Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights provides information on tenant rights and best practices related to:

  • Tenant Screening
  • Lease Terms
  • Security Deposits
  • Maintenance
  • Utility Services
  • Tenants’ Associations
  • Retaliation
  • Early Termination of a Lease
  • Eviction

The Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights is available on the Office of Attorney General’s website for all Pennsylvanians to access. The guide is intended to inform consumers on the legal requirements and best practices when renting a place to live. The guide is not legal advice and the Office of Attorney General cannot give specific legal advice to individuals.

If you are a tenant or prospective tenant dealing with a landlord-tenant problem, please reach out to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection online or at 800-411-2555.

If you are a tenant or prospective tenant and believe your civil rights have been violated, please reach out to the Office of Attorney General’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section online or at 717-787-0822.

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