Real Estate Legal Tips: Pennsylvania Rental Security Deposit Laws
If you’re renting a residential property in Pennsylvania, you should know you have certain rights when it comes to the security deposit. We outlined the biggest takeaways from The Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act below so that both tenants and landlords alike are informed about their legal rights when it comes to keeping their money safe and protected.
Pennsylvania law provides for a maximum security deposit of two months’ rent for the first year of tenancy and only one month of rent during the second year (yes, that means you should receive one month’s rent in return during your second year). If a tenant has been occupying a property for five years or more, then the security deposit cannot be increased.
Your Deposit Can Be Held in Escrow
If you’ve lived in a rental property for two years and your security deposit exceeded $100, then your landlord must hold your money (or a Guarantee Bond) in an escrow account regulated by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Comptroller of the Currency or the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. The tenant must be told in writing where their money will be held.
You Have a Right to Withhold Your Rent Payment
Tenants, you have the right to live in home that is structurally safe and fit for human occupancy. If the property is deemed uninhabitable, then you have the right to withhold your rent payment or your rent can be redirected to the bank until fixes are made to rectify uninhabitable conditions.
You Will Earn Interest
After renting for three years, your landlord will pay you interest. You will receive interest on yearly basis, however 1 percent will be retained to account for ongoing maintenance fees.
Get it in Writing
When the lease agreement has ended, the landlord is required to give the tenant an itemized list of any damages that may have been inflicted on the property. If a portion of your security deposit is withheld with no detailed explanation, then the landlord is not legally bound to retain any part of your security deposit. (IS THIS RIGHT)?
Getting Your Money Back
If there is no damage to the property and you’ve paid your rent on time, then you should receive your full security deposit 30 days from your move-out date. NOTE: Tenants are required to give their new address to the landlord in writing. Without official notification of the updated address, the landlord is not legally bound to return the security deposit.