Landlord Tenant Lawyers Pittsburgh PA
Whether you are a tenant facing eviction or a property owner dealing with a troublesome tenant, you need an experienced real estate attorney to protect your rights. At Very Law, we have helped our clients across Pennsylvania effectively resolve issues regarding evictions, rent disputes, security deposits, property damage, lease violations, and more. We represent residential and commercial tenants and landlords in Pittsburgh and can advise you on how to move forward.
When you need a tenacious real estate lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, draft or review a contract, or vigorously represent you in court – we can help. Call us at 412-430-0131 or fill out this form to schedule a consultation today.
Landlord and Tenant Laws in Pittsburgh
The security deposit belongs to the tenant but is held by the property owner for protection against unpaid rent or damages. In Pennsylvania, the amount of security deposits is strictly regulated by real estate law:
- During the 1st year of lease, the amount cannot exceed two months’ rent.
- At the beginning of the 2nd year of lease, the deposit cannot exceed one month’s rent.
- At the beginning of the 3rd year of a lease, the landlord must put any security deposit over $100 in an interest-bearing bank account unless they get a bond.
If you are a landlord, you must return the security deposit to your tenant within 30 days after the end of their lease, minus any deductions for property damages or unpaid rent; you must provide a written list of these deductions. If you fail to return the security deposit or provide a written list of deductions within 30 days, the tenant can sue you for double the amount of the security deposit plus interest and court costs.
Maintenance and repairs
If you are a tenant in Pittsburgh, PA, you have a duty to keep your rental unit clean and undamaged and to notify your landlord promptly of any necessary repairs. If your negligence caused any damage to the property, it’s your responsibility to get it repaired.
If a landlord fails to make necessary repairs within a reasonable time after receiving notice from a tenant, the Pennsylvania law allows a tenant to:
- Withhold rent until the repairs are made
- Make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent
- Sue the landlord for damages or an injunction
- Move out and terminate the written lease
However, before exercising any of these options, make sure to consult our experienced tenant lawyer.
Common Landlord-Tenant Conflicts in Pittsburgh, PA
At Very Law, our landlord-tenant lawyers have helped resolve several kinds of contentious situations, including:
- Tenant failing to pay rent on time or at all
- Landlord increasing rent without proper notice or reason
- Tenant violating lease terms, such as subletting or having pets
- Landlord breaching lease terms, such as entering without notice or consent
- Tenant damaging property beyond normal wear and tear
- Landlord failing to keep the property in habitable condition
- Tenant disturbing other tenants or neighbors
- Landlord retaliation or discrimination against tenants based on protected class
- Tenant refusing to vacate property after lease expires or terminates
- Landlord evicting tenant without notice or due process
- Landlord withholding security deposit without justification or documentation
- Landlord locking out tenant or shutting off utilities illegally
- Tenant abandoning property and leaving belongings behind
- Landlord selling property and trying to cancel existing lease
- Tenant requesting reasonable accommodation for disability or assistance animal
How to File a Complaint Against a Landlord in Pennsylvania?
If you have a problem with your landlord that you cannot resolve by talking to them, filing a complaint against them might be your only option.
If you believe that the landlord has discriminated against you based on your race, age, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, familial status, disability, or status as a victim of domestic violence, you can file a discrimination complaint with Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Commission (PHRC) or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You have one year after the alleged discriminatory act occurred to file this complaint with HUD.
If your complaint is not related to discrimination but some other lease-related issue (like breach of lease terms or nonpayment of rent), you can file a landlord-tenant complaint with the magisterial district court or the court of common pleas in your county.
In Pennsylvania, when a tenant files a complaint against their landlord, the burden of proof typically falls on the tenant, not the landlord. So, if you file a complaint, you will need to present evidence and demonstrate that your complaint is valid and supported by facts. Our Pittsburgh real estate attorneys can be invaluable allies in this situation.
Can I Sue My Landlord for Negligence in Pittsburgh?
Yes, you can sue your landlord if their actions or lack of action directly resulted in harm to you or your property. For instance, if you suffered injuries due to their neglect, or if your personal belongings are damaged because they failed to fix a plumbing issue, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses related to injuries, costs incurred due to having to live elsewhere temporarily, and the value of damaged personal belongings.
Before taking legal action, we recommend exploring other options first. Our landlord-tenant attorneys have found that talking to the owner about the problem and sending them a demand letter can sometimes lead to a quicker resolution.
Get Legal Representation to Protect Your Landlord or Tenant Rights
No matter which side of the landlord-tenant dispute you find yourself on, our landlord-tenant attorney team is in your corner. We will do our best to help you reach a mutually agreeable solution to save you from the hassle of legal fees and court battles. But if that doesn’t work, you can count on our aggressive representation in court. To schedule a case evaluation with our Pittsburgh law firm, give us a call at 412-430-0131 or reach out to us online.
Think you may have a case? Let’s talk.