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PRINTER'S NO. 4213
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
2685
Session of
2018
INTRODUCED BY SOLOMON, SANTORA, DALEY, YOUNGBLOOD, HARKINS,
HILL-EVANS, DONATUCCI, NEILSON, KINSEY AND DEAN,
OCTOBER 11, 2018
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON CONSUMER AFFAIRS, OCTOBER 11, 2018
AN ACT
Amending Titles 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), 51
(Military Affairs) and 68 (Real and Personal Property) of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, adopting the Uniform
Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and extensively revising
the law on residential landlords and tenants, in the areas of
lease provisions, landlord duties, tenant remedies, tenant
duties, landlord remedies, access to dwelling units, tenant
deaths in periodic and holdover tenancies, retaliation,
disposition of tenant's personal property, effect of domestic
violence and stalking and return of security deposit and
unearned rent; making a related repeal; and making editorial
changes.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 917(d)(4), 1123(a)(3), 1515(a)(2) and
8127(a)(3.1) of Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes are amended to read:
§ 917. Housing courts.
* * *
(d) Jurisdiction of housing court.--In a court of common
pleas which has established a housing court pursuant to this
section, the exclusive jurisdiction of the following matters may
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be vested in the housing court:
* * *
(4) Matters arising under [the act of April 6, 1951
(P.L.69, No.20), known as The Landlord and Tenant Act of
1951,] 68 Pa.C.S. Pt. II Subpt. A (relating to residential
landlord and tenant) which involve a place used or intended
for use as a place of human habitation.
* * *
§ 1123. Jurisdiction and venue.
(a) General rule.--Except as otherwise prescribed by any
general rule adopted pursuant to section 503 (relating to
reassignment of matters), the Philadelphia Municipal Court shall
have jurisdiction of the following matters:
* * *
(3) Matters arising under [the act of April 6, 1951
(P.L.69, No.20), known as The Landlord and Tenant Act of
1951] 68 Pa.C.S. Pt. II Subpt. A (relating to residential
landlord and tenant). The judges of the Philadelphia
Municipal Court shall have the power to enter judgments
exceeding $5,000 in matters arising under this subsection.
Appeals from a judgment of the municipal court under this
subsection shall be to the court of common pleas in
accordance with local rules of court established by the
administrative judge of the trial division. Those rules shall
not be inconsistent with Statewide rules of procedure as
established by the Supreme Court.
* * *
§ 1515. Jurisdiction and venue.
(a) Jurisdiction.--Except as otherwise prescribed by general
rule adopted pursuant to section 503 (relating to reassignment
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of matters), magisterial district judges shall, under procedures
prescribed by general rule, have jurisdiction of all of the
following matters:
* * *
(2) Matters arising under [the act of April 6, 1951
(P.L.69, No.20), known as The Landlord and Tenant Act of
1951,] 68 Pa.C.S. Pt. II Subpt. A (relating to residential
landlord and tenant) which are stated therein to be within
the jurisdiction of a magisterial district judge.
* * *
§ 8127. Personal earnings exempt from process.
(a) General rule and exceptions.--The wages, salaries and
commissions of individuals shall while in the hands of the
employer be exempt from any attachment, execution or other
process except upon an action or proceeding:
* * *
(3.1) For amounts awarded to a judgment creditor-
landlord arising out of a residential lease upon which the
court has rendered judgment which is final. However, the
amount subject to attachment shall have deducted from it any
security deposit held by the judgment creditor-landlord and
forfeited by the judgment debtor-tenant under [section 511.1
of the act of April 6, 1951 (P.L.69, No.20), known as The
Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951,] 68 Pa.C.S. § 1408 (relating
to landlord noncompliance as defense to action for possession
or nonpayment of rent; escrow account) unless the security
deposit has been applied to payment of rent due on the same
premises for which the judgment for attachment has been
entered. The judgment creditor-landlord shall have the burden
of proving that such security deposit has been applied to
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payment of rent due on the premises herein described. The sum
attached shall be no more than 10% of the net wages per pay
period of the judgment debtor-tenant or a sum not to place
the debtor's net income below the poverty income guidelines
as provided annually by the Federal Office of Management and
Budget, whichever is less. For the purposes of this
paragraph, "net wages" shall mean all wages paid less only
the following items:
(i) Federal, State and local income taxes.
(ii) F.I.C.A. payments and nonvoluntary retirement
payments.
(iii) Union dues.
(iv) Health insurance premiums.
* * *
Section 2. Section 7315.1(g) of Title 51 is amended to read:
§ 7315.1. Early termination of housing rental agreement by
military personnel.
* * *
(g) Tenant's obligations.--Nothing in this section shall
affect the tenant's obligations under [section 503-A of the act
of April 6, 1951 (P.L.69, No.20), known as The Landlord and
Tenant Act of 1951] 68 Pa.C.S. Ch. 15 (relating to tenant
duties).
* * *
Section 3. The heading of Subpart A of Part II of Title 68
is amended to read:
SUBPART A
[PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS] RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT
Section 4. Title 68 is amended by adding chapters to read:
CHAPTER 11
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GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec.
1101. Short title of subpart.
1102. Definitions.
1103. Scope of subpart.
1104. Enforcement; duty to mitigate.
1105. Obligation of good faith.
1106. Unconscionability.
1107. Knowledge and notice; notice in a record.
1108. Required disclosures by landlord.
1109. Required disclosures by tenant.
1110. Principles of law and equity.
§ 1101. Short title of subpart.
This subpart shall be known and may be cited as the Uniform
Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
§ 1102. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this subpart
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Action." An action for damages, possession, ejectment,
quiet title, specific performance or other judicial proceeding
in which rights under a lease or this subpart are determined.
"Actual damages." Compensation for direct, consequential or
incidental injuries or losses. The term includes:
(1) amounts payable to a landlord or tenant under a
lease for a violation of the lease; and
(2) diminution in the value of a dwelling unit.
"Bank." An organization that engages in the business of
banking and is federally insured. The term includes a savings
bank, savings and loan association, credit union and trust
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company.
"Bank account." A checking, demand, time, savings, passbook
or similar account maintained at a bank.
"Building, housing, fire or health code." The term includes
any law concerning fitness for habitation or the construction,
maintenance, operation, occupancy, use or appearance of the
premises.
"Contact person." A person designated by a tenant under
section 1109(b) (relating to required disclosures by tenant).
"Criminal act." Any of the following:
(1) The manufacture, sale, distribution, use or
possession of a controlled substance on or in the vicinity of
the premises which is criminal under law other than this
subpart.
(2) Activity which:
(i) is criminal under law other than this subpart;
and
(ii) threatens the health or safety of an individual
on the premises or the landlord or landlord's agent on or
off the premises.
"Criminal activity." A criminal act.
"Diminution in the value of a dwelling unit." A reduction
from rent which reflects the extent to which a noncompliant
condition of the premises impairs a tenant's use and enjoyment
of a dwelling unit, as determined by a court based on evidence,
which need not include expert testimony.
"Dwelling unit." Property leased to a tenant for use as a
home, residence or sleeping place by an individual or by two or
more individuals who maintain a common household, regardless of
their relationship to each other. The term includes:
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(1) A single-family residence, together with:
(i) fixtures and appurtenances;
(ii) the land on which the residence is located; and
(iii) structures on the land under subparagraph
(ii).
(2) A structure or part of a structure in which the
tenant resides, together with:
(i) fixtures and appurtenances; and
(ii) an area of the land where the structure is
located to which the tenant is given an exclusive right
of possession during the term of the lease, including a
designated parking space or storage area.
"Electronic." Relating to technology having electrical,
digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic or similar
capability.
"Essential service." Heat, hot and cold running water,
sewage or septic disposal and electricity. The term includes gas
or air conditioning if required to be supplied to a tenant by
the lease or law other than this subpart which, if not supplied
to the tenant, would create a serious threat to the health,
safety or property of the tenant or an immediate family member.
"Fees." Amounts payable by a tenant to a landlord which the
landlord has no obligation to account for or return to the
tenant except as otherwise provided in section 1405(b) (relating
to landlord failure to deliver possession to tenant). The term
does not include rent or a security deposit.
"Good faith." Honesty in fact and the observance of
reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.
"Guest." An individual, other than the landlord or
landlord's agent, invited on the premises by a tenant or an
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immediate family member.
"Immediate family member." Any of the following who
habitually resides in a dwelling unit with a tenant:
(1) An individual related to the tenant by blood,
adoption or marriage.
(2) An individual who has an intimate relationship with
the tenant.
(3) A foster child, stepchild or ward of the tenant or
of an individual referred to in paragraph (1) or (2).
"Landlord." Any of the following:
(1) The owner of a dwelling unit.
(2) A successor in interest to the landlord.
(3) A sublessor, only if the landlord did not consent to
the sublease.
(4) A person that manages a dwelling unit or enters a
lease on behalf of the owner of the unit and that fails to
comply with section 1108(c) and (d) (relating to required
disclosures by landlord), except with respect to events
occurring after:
(i) the tenant is given notice in a record which
complies with section 1108(c) and (d); or
(ii) the date of termination of the person's
authority to act on behalf of the owner if that authority
is terminated.
"Law." The term includes statutory law, ordinances, case
law, regulations and administrative adjudications.
"Lease." A contract, oral or in a record, between a landlord
and tenant in which the landlord rents a dwelling unit to the
tenant for a tenancy for a fixed term or a periodic tenancy. The
term includes:
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(1) an amendment to the lease;
(2) rules adopted by the landlord which were disclosed
to the tenant under section 1108(b)(4); and
(3) subject to section 1304 (relating to rules of
landlord governing use and enjoyment of premises), rules
adopted by the landlord after commencement of the term of the
lease.
"Normal wear and tear." Deterioration which results from the
intended use of a dwelling unit. The term includes breakage or
malfunction due to age or deteriorated condition. The term does
not include deterioration which results from negligence,
carelessness, accident or abuse of the unit, fixtures, equipment
or other tangible personal property by the tenant, an immediate
family member or a guest.
"Notice in a record." Notice which complies with section
1107(b) (relating to knowledge and notice; notice in a record).
"Occupancy as a vacation rental." Occupancy of a dwelling
unit which has the following characteristics:
(1) The tenant rents the unit for vacation purposes only
and has a principal residence other than the unit.
(2) The unit is furnished with personal property
necessary to make the unit ready for immediate occupancy by
the tenant.
(3) The occupancy does not exceed 30 consecutive days.
"Owner." A person vested with all or part of:
(1) legal title to the premises; or
(2) beneficial ownership and a right to present use and
enjoyment of the premises.
"Periodic rent." As follows:
(1) Under a tenancy for a fixed term, the amount payable
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each month.
(2) Under a periodic tenancy for month-to-month, the
amount payable each month.
(3) Under a periodic tenancy from week-to-week, the
amount payable each week.
(4) If rent is payable annually, the amount of the
annual rent divided by 12.
"Periodic tenancy." A tenancy created under a lease or
arising by operation of law for either month-to-month or week-
to-week.
"Person." An individual, estate, trust, business or
nonprofit entity, public corporation, government or governmental
subdivision, agency or instrumentality or other legal entity.
"Premises." A dwelling unit and, to the extent owned by the
landlord, a structure of which the unit is a part. The term
includes any area and structure owned by the landlord which are:
(1) associated with the structure where the dwelling
unit is located; and
(2) held out by the landlord for the use of tenants
generally.
"Prepaid rent." Rent paid to a landlord before the first day
of the rental period to which it is to be applied.
"Prevailing party." A party that:
(1) initiated the enforcement of a right or remedy under
a lease or this subpart and substantially prevailed on the
right or remedy asserted; or
(2) substantially prevailed in defending against a right
or remedy asserted by another party.
"Reasonable effort." Action taken by a landlord to rent a
dwelling unit if the unit is vacated at the end of a term,
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including showing the unit to a prospective tenant or
advertising the availability of the unit.
"Record." Information that is inscribed on a tangible medium
or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is
retrievable in perceivable form.
"Rent." A payment for the right to possession of a dwelling
unit. The term does not include a security deposit or fees.
"Repairs." The term includes remediations.
"Security deposit." Money provided to a landlord to secure
payment or performance of a tenant's obligations under a lease
or this subpart and the identifiable proceeds of the money,
however denominated. The term does not include rent or fees.
"Security interest." An interest in personal property which
secures payment or performance of a tenant's obligations under a
lease or this subpart.
"Sign." With present intent to authenticate or adopt a
record:
(1) to execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or
(2) to attach to or logically associate with the record
an electronic symbol, sound or process.
"State." A state of the United States, the District of
Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or any territory or
insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United
States.
"Symbol." The term includes an electronic-mail address or
other identifying header.
"Tenancy for a fixed term." A tenancy under a lease for a
fixed or computable period, regardless of the length of the
period.
"Tenant." Any of the following:
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(1) A person that is a party to a lease of a dwelling
unit and is entitled to possession of the unit.
(2) An assignee or sublessee of a person described in
paragraph (1) that has possession of the unit with the
landlord's consent.
(3) An individual authorized to occupy the unit by a
person described in paragraph (1) or (2) that is not an
individual.
"Tenant representative." Any of the following:
(1) A personal representative of a deceased tenant's
estate.
(2) Before the appointment of a personal representative:
(i) a contact person; or
(ii) in the absence of a contact person, an
individual the landlord reasonably believes to be an heir
of the tenant under the applicable intestate succession
law.
"Transient occupancy." Occupancy in a room or suite of rooms
which has the following characteristics:
(1) The cost of occupancy is charged on a daily basis.
(2) The operator of the room or suite provides
housekeeping and linen service as part of the regularly
charged cost of occupancy.
(3) The occupancy does not exceed 30 consecutive days.
"Unearned rent." Rent, including prepaid rent, which a
tenant paid to a landlord for the right to possession of a
dwelling unit for any period after the date the lease for the
unit terminates in accordance with its terms or this subpart.
The term does not include an amount, including rent, owed to the
landlord for a period, before or after the date the lease
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terminates, during which the tenant is in physical possession of
the premises.
"Willful." Any of the following:
(1) Deliberate, with awareness of material
circumstances.
(2) Deliberately indifferent to material circumstances.
"Willfully." In a willful manner.
§ 1103. Scope of subpart.
(a) General.--Except as set forth in subsection (b), this
subpart applies to a lease of a dwelling unit in this
Commonwealth.
(b) Exception.--The following arrangements are not governed
by this subpart:
(1) Residence at a public or private facility, if
incidental to detention or the provision of medical, mental
health, geriatric, counseling, educational, religious,
disability, personal safety or similar service.
(2) Occupancy under a contract of sale of, or an option
to purchase, a dwelling unit or the building of which it is a
part, if the occupant is the purchaser or optionee or an
individual who has succeeded to the interest of the purchaser
or optionee.
(3) Occupancy by a member of a fraternal or social
organization in a part of a structure operated for the
benefit of the organization.
(4) Transient occupancy.
(5) Occupancy by an employee of a landlord when the
employee's right to occupancy is conditioned on employment in
or about the premises.
(6) Occupancy by a holder of a proprietary lease in a
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cooperative.
(7) Occupancy under a lease covering premises used by
the occupant for agricultural purposes.
(8) Occupancy as a vacation rental.
(9) A ground lease of real property which lease does not
include a dwelling unit.
§ 1104. Enforcement; duty to mitigate.
(a) Enforcement.--Any right or obligation under this subpart
is enforceable by an action unless the provision creating the
right or obligation provides otherwise.
(b) Mitigation.--A party seeking relief under this subpart
has a duty to mitigate damages.
§ 1105. Obligation of good faith.
A lease or duty under this subpart imposes an obligation of
good faith in its performance and enforcement.
§ 1106. Unconscionability.
(a) Leases.--If a court, as a matter of law, finds a lease
or any provision of the lease was unconscionable at the time it
was made, the court may:
(1) refuse to enforce the lease;
(2) enforce the remainder of the lease without the
unconscionable provision; or
(3) limit application of the unconscionable provision to
avoid an unconscionable result.
(b) Settlement agreement.--If a court, as a matter of law,
finds a settlement agreement in which a party waived or agreed
to forego a claim or right under a lease or this subpart was
unconscionable at the time it was made, the court may:
(1) refuse to enforce the agreement;
(2) enforce the remainder of the agreement without the
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unconscionable provision; or
(3) limit application of the unconscionable provision to
avoid an unconscionable result.
(c) Procedure.--If a party or the court puts
unconscionability in issue under subsection (a) or (b), the
court shall allow the parties to present evidence of the
setting, purpose and effect of the lease or settlement agreement
to aid the court in making the determination of
unconscionability.
§ 1107. Knowledge and notice; notice in a record.
(a) Having notice.--Under this subpart, a person has notice
of a fact if the person:
(1) has actual knowledge of the fact;
(2) receives notice of the fact under subsection (d); or
(3) has reason to know the fact exists from all facts
known to the person at the time in question.
(b) Procedure.--Except as set forth in section 2001(c)
(relating to disposition of tenant personal property on
termination or abandonment), if this subpart requires notice in
a record, the notice must be signed by the person giving the
notice and be:
(1) delivered personally to the recipient;
(2) deposited in the mail with proper postage and
properly addressed to:
(i) if sent to the landlord, the mailing address
specified under section 1108(c)(2) (relating to required
disclosures by landlord);
(ii) if sent to the tenant, the mailing address
specified under section 1109 (relating to required
disclosures by tenant); or
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(iii) if sent to a person other than a landlord or
tenant or if there is no address specified for the
landlord or tenant, an address reasonable under the
circumstances; or
(3) unless the landlord notifies the tenant or the
tenant notifies the landlord that notice may be given only by
personal delivery or by mail under paragraph (2), delivered
by another means of communication with cost of transmission
provided for and properly addressed to:
(i) if sent to the landlord, the mailing address
specified under section 1108(c)(2);
(ii) if sent to the tenant, an address specified
under section 1109; or
(iii) if there is no address specified for the
recipient, an address reasonable under the circumstances.
(c) Knowledge of recipient.--Subject to subsection (b), a
person gives notice of a fact to another person by taking steps
reasonably calculated to inform the other person, regardless of
whether the other person learns of the fact.
(d) Receiving notice.--Under this subpart, a person receives
notice of a fact when:
(1) the fact comes to the person's attention; or
(2) if notice in a record is required, the notice is:
(i) personally delivered under subsection (b)(1);
(ii) sent under subsection (b)(2); or
(iii) delivered under subsection (b)(3).
§ 1108. Required disclosures by landlord.
(a) Application period.--Before accepting an application
fee, the prospective landlord shall disclose to the prospective
tenant in a record the criteria the landlord uses to determine
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the landlord's willingness to enter into a lease with a tenant.
(b) Contracting period.--Before accepting funds to be
applied to a security deposit, prepaid rent, or fees other than
an application fee, and before entering into a lease, a
prospective landlord shall disclose to the prospective tenant in
a record all of the following:
(1) Any condition of the premises which the landlord
knows or on a reasonable inspection of the premises should
have known would constitute noncompliance under section 1302
(relating to tenant may make repairs to remedy noncompliance
at landlord's expense) and would materially interfere with:
(i) the health or safety of the tenant or an
immediate family member; or
(ii) the use and enjoyment of the premises by the
tenant or an immediate family member.
(2) Whether, to the knowledge of the landlord, a
foreclosure action has been commenced against the premises.
(3) If rent is prepaid, the month or other period of the
lease to which the rent is to be applied.
(4) Rules affecting the tenant's use and enjoyment of
the premises, whether adopted by the landlord or another
person.
(c) Commencement of lease.--At or before commencement of the
term of a lease, the landlord shall give the tenant notice in a
record specifying all of the following:
(1) Name of:
(i) the landlord;
(ii) any person authorized to manage the premises;
(iii) the owner of the premises;
(iv) any person authorized to act for the owner for
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service of process; and
(v) any person authorized to receive a notice or
demand for the owner.
(2) Mailing address or electronic-mail address of the
landlord and of any person designated by the landlord that
has a right to be sent notice or a demand.
(3) Address where or the method by which the tenant is
required to deliver rent.
(d) Updating.--A landlord shall keep current the information
required by subsection (c).
(e) Damages.--If a foreclosure action was commenced against
the premises before a landlord and tenant entered into a lease
and if the disclosure required by subsection (b)(2) was not
made, the tenant may recover actual damages resulting from the
foreclosure.
§ 1109. Required disclosures by tenant.
(a) Commencement of lease.--At or before commencement of the
term of a lease, the tenant shall give the landlord notice in a
record specifying the tenant's mailing address and electronic-
mail address.
(b) Contact person.--Upon request of the landlord, the
tenant shall designate a contact person to act for the tenant on
the tenant's death. Absent a request by the landlord, the tenant
may designate a contact person to act for the tenant on the
tenant's death. The tenant shall make the designation by giving
the landlord a record specifying the name and, if known, the
mailing address, electronic-mail address and the telephone
number of the contact person.
(c) Updating.--A tenant shall keep current the information
required under subsections (a) and (b). On termination of the
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lease, the tenant shall provide the landlord a forwarding
address where the landlord can send the tenant's security
deposit and unearned rent and other communications.
§ 1110. Principles of law and equity.
Unless displaced by the particular provisions of this
subpart, the principles of law and equity supplement this
subpart.
CHAPTER 12
GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO LEASE
Sec.
1201. Terms and conditions of lease; delivery of lease to
tenant.
1202. Effect of unsigned lease; implied lease.
1203. Prohibited provisions in lease.
1204. Separation of rent from landlord duties prohibited.
1205. Attorney fees and costs.
§ 1201. Terms and conditions of lease; delivery of lease to
tenant.
(a) Permissible terms and conditions.--The following apply:
(1) A lease may include terms and conditions not
prohibited by this subpart or law other than this subpart.
(2) A lease in a record shall comply with the act of
June 23, 1993 (P.L.128, No.29), known as the Plain Language
Consumer Contract Act.
(b) Rent.--Unless a lease or law other than this subpart
otherwise provides, all of the following apply:
(1) The tenant shall pay rent for the dwelling unit for
the term of the lease in an amount comparable to the rent
paid for other dwelling units of similar size and condition
in the same or a comparable location, determined at the
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commencement of the term.
(2) Rent is:
(i) payable without demand or notice:
(A) at:
(I) the address or place the landlord
designates under section 1108(c)(3) (relating to
required disclosures by landlord); or
(II) if no designation is made, at the
landlord's place of business at the time the
lease was made; and
(B) on the first day of each month or at the
beginning of the term if the term is less than one
month; and
(ii) uniformly apportioned from day to day.
(3) The rental period:
(i) for a tenancy for a fixed term of more than one
month or a periodic tenancy of month-to-month, is on a
monthly basis beginning with the first day of the month;
and
(ii) for all other tenancies, begins on the first
day rent is paid.
(c) Term.--Except as set forth in section 1202 (relating to
effect of unsigned lease; implied lease), unless the lease
creates a tenancy for a fixed term, the term of the lease is as
follows:
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), the tenancy is
a periodic tenancy for month-to-month.
(2) If the tenant pays rent weekly, the tenancy is a
periodic tenancy for week-to-week.
(d) Copy of lease.--A landlord shall provide the tenant a
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copy of the lease which is signed by:
(1) both of them; or
(2) if the lease is enforceable under section 1202,
either of them.
(e) Damages.--If a landlord willfully fails to comply with
subsection (d), the tenant may recover the greater of:
(1) actual damages; or
(2) one month's periodic rent.
§ 1202. Effect of unsigned lease; implied lease.
(a) Implication by partial signing, delivery and
performance.--Subject to subsection (b), all of the following
apply:
(1) If a lease signed by the tenant is delivered to the
landlord and if the landlord fails to sign the lease and
return it to the tenant, acceptance of rent by the landlord
without a reservation of rights gives the lease the same
effect as if the lease had been signed by the landlord and
returned to the tenant.
(2) If a lease signed by the landlord is delivered to
the tenant and if the tenant fails to sign the lease and
return it to the landlord, acceptance of possession and
payment of rent without a reservation of rights gives the
lease the same effect as if the lease had been signed by the
tenant and returned to the landlord.
(b) Term for implication by partial signing, delivery and
performance.--If a lease given effect under subsection (a)
provides for a tenancy for a fixed term longer than one year,
the lease is effective for one year.
(c) Term implication by performance.--Absent a lease signed
and delivered under subsection (a), if the tenant accepts
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possession and pays rent to the landlord without a reservation
of rights and if the landlord accepts rent from the tenant
without a reservation of rights, the term of the lease is as
follows:
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), the tenancy is
a periodic tenancy for month-to-month.
(2) If the tenant pays rent weekly, the tenancy is a
periodic tenancy for week-to-week.
§ 1203. Prohibited provisions in lease.
(a) Prohibition.--A lease may not require the tenant to:
(1) unless permitted by this subpart, waive or forego a
right or remedy under this subpart;
(2) authorize a person to confess judgment on a claim
arising out of the lease or this subpart;
(3) perform a duty imposed on the landlord by section
1302 (relating to tenant may make repairs to remedy
noncompliance at landlord's expense);
(4) agree to pay attorney fees and costs of the landlord
other than those provided by this subpart or law other than
this subpart; or
(5) agree to:
(i) exculpate or limit a liability of the landlord
arising under this subpart or law other than this
subpart; or
(ii) indemnify the landlord for the liability and
the costs connected with the liability.
(b) Effect.--A provision in a lease prohibited under
subsection (a) or law other than this subpart is unenforceable.
If the landlord seeks to enforce the provision or accepts the
tenant's voluntary compliance with the provision, the court may
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award the tenant an amount not to exceed three times the
periodic rent.
§ 1204. Separation of rent from landlord duties prohibited.
A lease, assignment, sublease, conveyance, trust deed or
security instrument may not authorize a person to receive rent
without assuming the duties imposed on the landlord by the lease
and section 1302 (relating to tenant may make repairs to remedy
noncompliance at landlord's expense).
§ 1205. Attorney fees and costs.
(a) Authorization.--Except as set forth in subsection (b),
in an action to enforce a right or remedy arising under a lease
or this subpart, the court shall award the prevailing party
costs. The court may award the prevailing party reasonable
attorney fees if the court determines that the other party:
(1) did not act in good faith;
(2) willfully performed an act prohibited by the lease
or this subpart; or
(3) willfully refrained from performing an act required
by the lease or this subpart.
(b) Exception.--Notwithstanding subsection (a), a court may
not award a landlord attorney fees or costs in an uncontested
action to recover possession of a dwelling unit.
CHAPTER 13
LANDLORD DUTIES
Sec.
1301. Delivery of possession of dwelling unit to tenant.
1302. Tenant may make repairs to remedy noncompliance at
landlord's expense.
1303. Limitations on landlord liability.
1304. Rules of landlord governing use and enjoyment of
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premises.
1305. Rules of third parties governing use and enjoyment of
premises.
§ 1301. Delivery of possession of dwelling unit to tenant.
A landlord shall deliver physical possession of the dwelling
unit to the tenant at the commencement of the term of the lease.
§ 1302. Tenant may make repairs to remedy noncompliance at
landlord's expense.
(a) Premises.--A landlord shall maintain the premises in a
habitable condition, including making necessary repairs. The
landlord shall ensure that the premises:
(1) complies with obligations imposed on the landlord by
any applicable State or local building, housing, fire or
health code or law other than this subpart;
(2) has effective waterproofing and weather protection
of the roof and exterior walls, including windows and doors;
(3) has plumbing facilities which conform to law and are
maintained in good working order;
(4) has access to a water supply which is approved under
law which can provide hot and cold running water;
(5) has adequate ventilation and heating facilities
which conform to law and are maintained in good working
order;
(6) has electrical lighting, with wiring and equipment,
which conforms to law and is maintained in good working
order;
(7) has reasonable measures in place to control the
presence of rodents, bedbugs and other vermin and to prevent
exposure to unsafe levels of radon, lead paint, asbestos,
toxic mold and other hazardous substances;
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(8) to the extent the premises includes a common area or
other areas under the landlord's control, has reasonable
measures in place to make the area:
(i) clean and sanitary;
(ii) safe for normal and reasonably foreseeable use
consistent with the lease and in good repair; and
(iii) reasonably free of debris, filth, rubbish,
garbage and the items listed in paragraph (7);
(9) has an adequate number of appropriate receptacles in
reasonably clean condition if the landlord is obligated to
provide trash removal or recycling service by law or an
agreement in a record signed by the landlord and tenant;
(10) has in good repair floors, doors, windows, walls,
ceilings, stairways and railings;
(11) has in good repair other facilities and appliances
supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord;
(12) has in good repair locks or other security devices
on all exterior doors and on windows that open and close,
including those of the dwelling unit and other parts of the
premises; and
(13) has in good working order any safety equipment
required by law.
(b) Essential services.--
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a landlord shall ensure
the premises has access to essential services.
(2) A lease may require that an account with a utility
provider of an essential service to the dwelling unit be in
the name of the tenant and that the tenant pay the periodic
cost for the service. If the service is not provided because
the tenant fails to pay for the service, the landlord is not
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in violation of this subsection.
(c) Sublessors.--If a sublessor is a landlord for purposes
of this subpart, all of the following apply:
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), the sublessor
shall comply with subsection (a).
(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a duty which would
require the sublessor to access parts of the premises beyond
the sublessor's control.
(d) Agreement.--Subject to subsection (e), a landlord and
tenant may agree that the tenant is to perform specified
repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations or remodeling only if:
(1) the agreement is in a record, other than the lease,
signed by the parties and supported by adequate
consideration;
(2) the work is not necessary to cure the landlord's
noncompliance with subsection (a)(1); and
(3) the agreement does not affect the obligation of the
landlord to other tenants on the premises.
(e) Improper condition.--A landlord may not treat
performance of an agreement under subsection (d) as a condition
to the performance of an obligation under the lease or this
section.
§ 1303. Limitations on landlord liability.
Except to the extent a landlord and tenant otherwise agree in
a signed record, if the landlord, in a good-faith sale to a bona
fide purchaser, conveys premises which include a dwelling unit
subject to a lease, all of the following apply:
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), the landlord
is relieved of liability under the lease and this subpart as
to an event which occurs after the later of:
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(i) the conveyance to the purchaser; or
(ii) notice in a record by the landlord to the
tenant of the conveyance.
(2) Except as set forth in section 20B05 (relating to
disposition of security deposit on termination of landlord
interest in premises), the landlord remains liable to the
tenant for the amount of any security deposit and unearned
rent paid to the landlord.
§ 1304. Rules of landlord governing use and enjoyment of
premises.
(a) Disclosure required.--Except as set forth in section
1305(a) (relating to rules of third parties governing use and
enjoyment of premises) or as required by law other than this
subpart, a landlord may enforce a rule of the landlord in
existence at the time the lease commenced only if the rule was
disclosed to the tenant under section 1108 (relating to required
disclosures by landlord).
(b) Time.--Except as set forth in subsection (c) or (d),
after commencement of the term of a lease, the landlord may
adopt or modify a rule concerning the tenant's use and enjoyment
of the premises. The adoption or modification may not take
effect earlier than 30 days after the landlord gives the tenant
notice in a record of the adoption or modification.
(c) Periodic tenancy for month-to-month.--In a periodic
tenancy for month-to-month, any adoption or modification under
subsection (b) may not take effect before the expiration of the
period under section 1801(b)(2) (relating to termination of
periodic tenancy) during which the tenant or landlord could have
exercised the right to terminate the tenancy.
(d) Tenancy for fixed term.--In a tenancy for a fixed term,
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if any adoption or modification under subsection (b)
substantially modifies the tenant's benefit of the bargain and
is not required by law other than this subpart, the rule is not
enforceable against the tenant unless the tenant consents in a
signed record.
§ 1305. Rules of third parties governing use and enjoyment of
premises.
(a) Prior to commencement of lease.--If, before the
commencement of the term of a lease, the landlord fails to
disclose a rule adopted by a person other than the landlord
which substantially modifies the tenant's benefit of the bargain
and is not required by law other than this subpart and if the
rule is enforced against the tenant, the tenant may do any of
the following:
(1) Recover actual damages from the landlord.
(2) Terminate the lease by giving the landlord notice in
a record that the lease will terminate on a date specified in
the notice. The date specified shall be at least 30 days
after the notice is given.
(b) After commencement of lease.--
(1) This subsection applies to a tenancy for a fixed
term if, after the commencement of the term of a lease:
(i) a person other than the landlord adopts or
modifies a rule;
(ii) the adoption or modification:
(A) substantially changes the tenant's benefit
of the bargain; and
(B) is not required by law other than this
subpart; and
(iii) the rule is enforced against the tenant.
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(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the tenant may do any of
the following:
(i) Except as set forth in subsection (c), terminate
the lease by giving the landlord notice in a record that
the lease will terminate on a date specified in the
notice. The date specified shall be at least 30 days
after the notice is given.
(ii) In the case of a periodic tenancy, terminate
the tenancy under section 1801 (relating to termination
of periodic tenancy).
(c) No termination of lease.--A tenant may not terminate a
lease under subsection (b)(2)(i) if the lease provides that:
(1) the dwelling unit is subject to rules of a person
other than the landlord; and
(2) the person under paragraph (1) may modify the rules
after the commencement of the term of the lease.
CHAPTER 14
TENANT REMEDIES
Sec.
1401. Notice and opportunity to remedy.
1402. Noncompliance by landlord; generally.
1403. Limitations on remedies.
1404. Material noncompliance by landlord; termination of lease.
1405. Landlord failure to deliver possession to tenant.
1406. Repair by tenant.
1407. Failure of essential service.
1408. Landlord noncompliance as defense to action for
possession or nonpayment of rent; escrow account.
1409. Unlawful removal; exclusion; interruption of essential
service.
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§ 1401. Notice and opportunity to remedy.
Except as set forth in section 1403 (relating to limitations
on remedies), if a landlord fails to comply with a lease or
section 1302 (relating to tenant may make repairs to remedy
noncompliance at landlord's expense), the tenant has the
remedies under section 1402 (relating to noncompliance by
landlord; generally). To obtain a remedy under this section, the
tenant must do all of the following:
(1) Give the landlord notice in a record of the
noncompliance.
(2) Give the landlord an opportunity to remedy the
noncompliance within one of the following time periods:
(i) Except as set forth in subparagraph (ii), not
later than 14 days after the tenant gives the notice.
(ii) If the noncompliance involves failure to
provide an essential service or materially interferes
with the health or safety of the tenant or an immediate
family member, as soon as practicable but not later than
five days after the tenant gives the notice.
§ 1402. Noncompliance by landlord; generally.
(a) Major noncompliance.--Except as set forth in subsection
(c) or section 1403 (relating to limitations on remedies):
(1) This subsection applies:
(i) if a local licensing, safety or health agency
where the dwelling unit is located certifies the dwelling
as unfit for human habitation; or
(ii) if all of the following clauses apply:
(A) A landlord does not comply with a lease or
with section 1302 (relating to tenant may make
repairs to remedy noncompliance at landlord's
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expense).
(B) Noncompliance under clause (A):
(I) results in the tenant not receiving an
essential service;
(II) materially interferes with the health
or safety of the tenant or an immediate family
member; or
(III) materially interferes with the use and
enjoyment of the premises by the tenant or an
immediate family member.
(C) The tenant gave the landlord notice of
noncompliance under section 1401(1) (relating to
notice and opportunity to remedy).
(D) Noncompliance under clause (A) is not
remedied during the applicable period specified in
section 1401.
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the tenant has the
following remedies:
(i) Terminate the lease under section 1404 (relating
to material noncompliance by landlord; termination of
lease).
(ii) Continue the lease and elect one or more of the
following remedies:
(A) Subject to section 1408 (relating to
landlord noncompliance as defense to action for
possession or nonpayment of rent; escrow account),
withhold rent for the period of noncompliance
beginning on the date the tenant gave notice under
section 1401.
(B) Recover actual damages.
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(C) Obtain injunctive relief, specific
performance or other equitable relief.
(D) Make repairs and deduct the cost from the
rent under section 1406 (relating to repair by
tenant).
(E) Secure an essential service the landlord is
obligated to provide or comparable substitute housing
during the period of noncompliance under section 1407
(relating to failure of essential service).
(b) Minor noncompliance.--
(1) Except as set forth in subsection (c) or section
1403, this subsection applies if the landlord does not comply
with the lease or section 1302 but the noncompliance does not
materially interfere with:
(i) the health or safety of the tenant or an
immediate family member; or
(ii) the use and enjoyment of the premises by the
tenant or immediate family member.
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the tenant may continue
the lease and elect one or more of the following remedies:
(i) Recover actual damages.
(ii) Obtain injunctive relief, specific performance
or other equitable relief.
(iii) Make repairs and deduct the cost from the rent
under section 1406.
(c) Exception.--A tenant is not entitled to a remedy under
this section to the extent that:
(1) the landlord's noncompliance was caused by an act or
omission of the tenant, an immediate family member or a
guest; or
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(2) the tenant, an immediate family member or a guest
prevented the landlord from having access to the dwelling
unit to remedy the act or omission described in the notice
under section 1401.
§ 1403. Limitations on remedies.
(a) Tenant's remedy for fire, other casualty or natural
disaster.--If a dwelling unit or other part of the premises is
substantially damaged or destroyed by a fire, other casualty or
natural disaster, the following apply:
(1) If the unit or other part of the premises is
uninhabitable or inaccessible or continued occupancy of the
unit is unlawful, the tenant may vacate the unit immediately
and, not later than 14 days after vacating the unit, give the
landlord notice in a record of the tenant's intent to
terminate the lease. The lease terminates as of the date the
tenant vacates the unit.
(2) If continued occupancy of the unit is lawful,
subject to the landlord's right to terminate the lease under
subsection (b), the tenant, after complying with section 1401
(relating to notice and opportunity to remedy), may continue
the lease and seek the remedies provided in section 1402(a)
(2)(ii)(A), (B), (C) and (D) and (b)(2) (relating to
noncompliance by landlord; generally).
(b) Landlord's remedy for fire, other casualty or natural
disaster.--
(1) This subsection applies if all of the following
subparagraphs apply:
(i) The dwelling unit or other part of the premises
is substantially damaged by a fire, other casualty or
natural disaster.
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(ii) Continued occupancy of the unit:
(A) is unlawful or dangerous; or
(B) requires repairs that can be made only if
the tenant vacates the unit.
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the landlord may terminate
the lease by giving the tenant notice in a record that the
lease will terminate on the date specified in the notice. The
specified date shall be at least five days after the notice
is given.
(c) Tenant remedies for noncompliance by landlord.--
(1) This subsection applies if all of the following
subparagraphs apply:
(i) The landlord's noncompliance with the lease or
section 1302 (relating to tenant may make repairs to
remedy noncompliance at landlord's expense) materially
interferes with:
(A) the health or safety of the tenant or an
immediate family member; or
(B) the use and enjoyment of the premises by the
tenant or an immediate family member.
(ii) It is impossible for the landlord to remedy the
noncompliance within the applicable period specified in
section 1401.
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the tenant may:
(i) terminate the lease under section 1404(b)
(relating to material noncompliance by landlord;
termination of lease); or
(ii) subject to subsection (d), continue the lease
and recover actual damages limited to diminution in the
value of the dwelling unit.
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(d) Landlord obligations for noncompliance by landlord.--
(1) This subsection applies if all of the following
subparagraphs apply:
(i) The landlord's noncompliance with the lease or
section 1302 materially interferes with:
(A) the health or safety of the tenant or an
immediate family member; or
(B) the use and enjoyment of the premises by the
tenant or an immediate family member.
(ii) It is impossible for the landlord to remedy the
noncompliance.
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, all of the following
apply:
(i) Not later than 30 days after receiving the
notice under section 1401, the landlord may terminate the
lease by giving the tenant notice in a record that the
lease will terminate on the date specified in the notice.
The date specified shall be at least 30 days after the
landlord gives the notice.
(ii) The landlord may not rent the unit for 90 days
after termination of the lease.
(e) Return of security deposit and unearned rent.--If a
lease is terminated under this section, the landlord shall
return the security deposit and unearned rent to which the
tenant is entitled under section 20B04 (relating to disposition
of security deposit and unearned rent on termination of lease).
(f) Nonexclusivity.--This section does not preclude:
(1) a landlord from seeking actual damages from the
tenant under law other than this subpart for damage to the
premises caused by an act or omission of the tenant, an
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immediate family member or a guest; or
(2) a tenant from seeking actual damages from the
landlord under law other than this subpart if an occurrence
under subsection (a) or (b) was caused by an act or omission
of the landlord or landlord's agent.
§ 1404. Material noncompliance by landlord; termination of
lease.
(a) Health or safety.--
(1) This subsection applies if all of the following
subparagraphs apply:
(i) The landlord does not comply with the lease or
section 1302 (relating to tenant may make repairs to
remedy noncompliance at landlord's expense).
(ii) The noncompliance materially interferes with
the health or safety of the tenant or an immediate family
member.
(iii) The noncompliance is not remedied within the
period specified in section 1401(2)(ii) (relating to
notice and opportunity to remedy).
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the tenant may terminate
the lease by giving the landlord notice in a record of the
tenant's intent to terminate the lease immediately or on the
date specified in the notice. The date specified shall be not
later than 30 days after the date of the notice.
(b) Use and enjoyment.--
(1) This subsection applies if all of the following
subparagraphs apply:
(i) The landlord does not comply with the lease or
section 1302.
(ii) The noncompliance materially interferes with
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the use and enjoyment of the premises.
(iii) The noncompliance is not remedied within the
period specified in section 1401(2)(i).
(2) If paragraph (1) applies, the tenant may terminate
the lease by giving the landlord notice in a record of the
tenant's intent to terminate the lease on the date specified
in the notice. The date specified shall be at least 14 days
after the expiration of the period allowed under section 1401
for the remedy of the noncompliance.
(c) Damages.--In addition to terminating the lease under
subsection (a) or (b), the tenant may recover actual damages.
(d) Return of security deposit and unearned rent.--If a
tenant terminates a lease under this section, the landlord shall
return any security deposit and unearned rent to which the
tenant is entitled under section 20B04 (relating to disposition
of security deposit and unearned rent on termination of lease).
§ 1405. Landlord failure to deliver possession to tenant.
(a) Tenant remedies.--Subject to subsection (d), if a
landlord does not deliver physical possession of a dwelling unit
to the tenant under section 1301 (relating to delivery of
possession of dwelling unit to tenant), the tenant is not
required to pay rent until possession is delivered and may:
(1) terminate the lease by giving notice in a record to
the landlord at any time before the landlord delivers
possession of the unit to the tenant; or
(2) demand performance of the lease by the landlord and:
(i) recover actual damages and obtain possession of
the unit from the landlord; or
(ii) obtain possession of the unit from any person
wrongfully in possession by any lawful means the landlord
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could have used.
(b) Return of funds.--If a tenant terminates the lease under
subsection (a)(1), the landlord shall return funds received from
the tenant before the commencement of the term of the lease.
(c) Damages.--In addition to the rights of a tenant under
subsections (a) and (b), if a landlord's failure to deliver
possession to the tenant under section 1301 is willful, the
tenant may recover the greater of:
(1) three times the periodic rent; or
(2) three times the actual damages.
(d) Subrogation.--If a tenant seeks possession under
subsection (a)(2)(ii), the tenant is liable to the landlord for
rent and may recover from the person wrongfully in possession
damages under section 1802 (relating to holdover tenancy).
§ 1406. Repair by tenant.
(a) Authorization.--If a landlord fails to comply with the
lease or section 1302 (relating to tenant may make repairs to
remedy noncompliance at landlord's expense), all of the
following apply:
(1) The tenant may give notice to the landlord under
section 1401 (relating to notice and opportunity to remedy)
specifying the noncompliance.
(2) Except as set forth in subsection (d), the tenant
may make repairs to remedy the noncompliance at the
landlord's expense if:
(i) the landlord fails to remedy the noncompliance
within the applicable period specified in section 1401;
and
(ii) the reasonable cost to remedy the noncompliance
does not exceed one month's periodic rent.
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