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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 31, 2015 03:44 PM
From: Representative Madeleine Dean
To: All House members
Subject: Early Termination of Rental Agreements by Disabled Persons and Senior Citizens
In the near future I will be re-introducing legislation proposing to amend the Act of April 6, 1951 (P.L.69, 20), known as the Landlord and Tenant Act, to grant senior citizens and individuals with disabilities early termination rights pertaining to rental agreements under special circumstances.

This legislation passed last session as an amendment to House Bill 1218, and was adopted by a vote of 195-2.

As many of you are aware, Pennsylvania’s senior citizen and disabled population is among the highest in the nation. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Commonwealth has a total of 1,959,307 who are 65 years of age or older. In addition, the organization Disabled World estimates that there are approximately 1,851,000 Pennsylvanians over the age of five that are afflicted with some form of disability. This particular demographic constitutes a population who must confront the grim and inevitable prospect of declining or deteriorating health. As a result, many of these individuals in the course of their lifetime will undergo or have undergone placement in a health care facility or require home health care for the purpose of receiving the adequate amount of long-term treatment and care that they both need and deserve.

Sadly, it is oftentimes during the period when our elderly and disabled citizens should be primarily focused on their own convalescence that they are instead burdened with financial worries. Therefore, out of compassion and consideration, I am proposing to create special exceptions for senior and disabled persons to early termination of residential rental agreements.

Under current Pennsylvania law, landlords are not required to permit the early termination of a rental agreement, irrespective of the circumstances necessitating such an action. My legislation would allow both elderly and disabled persons, with 60 days notice, to terminate a lease prior to its expiration – without penalty – during special circumstances when they are required to move or are placed in a health care facility due to medical reasons. In addition, this exception would be applicable when elderly or disabled individuals are required to move in with family members for the purpose of receiving long-term home health care. The intent of my proposed legislation is not to deprive landlords of any outstanding rental fees due prior to the termination of a lease. Additionally, it would provide reasonable protection to landlords by requiring at least 60 days’ notice of lease termination.

My intent is to lessen the financial burden and contractual obligation for our most vulnerable citizens during one of the more challenging experiences of their lives. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB975