Understanding your rights as a tenant is essential for anyone renting in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it’s something that many tenants do not fully comprehend. Without comprehensive knowledge of their rights, scores of Philadelphians are left vulnerable to having their rights trampled and their ignorance leveraged against them.

One good step that any renter in Philadelphia can take is to consult a tenant’s rights lawyer in Philadelphia. Meeting with an attorney can have numerous benefits. From reviewing the reputation of a potential landlord to making sure that the application process is fair, consulting an attorney is a good way to protect yourself as a tenant in Philadelphia.

Fair Housing Laws

Tenants in Philadelphia are protected by fair housing laws. They prohibit discrimination based on the following categories:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status
  • Disability

Landlords must adhere to these laws during the rental process, including advertising, application screening, and lease agreements.

Habitability Standards

Philadelphia mandates that properties be kept in habitable conditions by landlords. That means the property must be clear of hazards and have functional plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Landlords who fail to provide habitable domiciles for their tenants or do not make repairs when requested can be subject to legal penalties, including having rent withheld.

Security Deposits


To protect tenant’s rights, security deposits in Philadelphia are strictly regulated. The law requires landlords to return deposits within 30 days of a lease termination. Written itemizations of any deductions must be presented. Security deposits are capped at two months’ rent for the first year of a lease, and one month’s rent for every year after that.

Tenant Privacy

Tenants in Philadelphia have the right to privacy within their rented dwellings. Landlords are required by law to provide a minimum of 24 hours notice before entering a rental unit for non-emergency purposes. This allows tenants the chance to prepare and maintain a sense of security within their domiciles.

Rent Control

Unchecked rent hikes can leave renters feeling violated  While rent control in the traditional sense doesn’t exist in Philadelphia, certain protections do. The Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission handles this concern. They monitor and handle excessive rent increases and discriminatory practices. This protects tenants from arbitrary and unfair rent hikes.

Lease Agreements

The foundation of any landlord-tenant relationship is the lease agreement. In Philadelphia, tenants have the right to be given written leases, which must clearly outline the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement. Details about rent, security deposits, maintenance responsibilities, and rules or regulations the landlord imposes are all included in the lease.

Retaliation Protection

There is an imbalance of power between tenants and landlords. Thus, the law protects tenants from landlord retaliation when tenants exercise their rights. If tenants report code violations, request necessary repairs, or participate in tenant organizations, landlords cannot retaliate through actions like evictions or rent increases.

Eviction Protections


Eviction mustn’t be weaponized against tenants. Philadelphia law states that tenants are entitled to due process in the event of eviction. Proper legal procedures must be followed by landlords. Landlords must provide a written notice and file the eviction action through the local courts. Tenants’ rights allow them to contest evictions in court and present their cases.

Lead Paint Disclosure

Like asbestos, lead paint is carcinogenic. Philadelphia has created various legal measures to protect tenants from environmental hazards. This means landlords must inform tenants if lead-based paint hazards are present in properties built before 1978. This allows tenants to make informed choices, especially when young children are in the household.

Lease Renewals

In Philadelphia, landlords can terminate a lease or not renew a lease within the confines of the law. Philadelphia law requires that 60 days notice be given to tenants holding year-to-year leases and that 15 days notice be given to tenants leasing from month to month. This allows tenants ample time to make alternative housing arrangements.

Contact a Lawyer If Your Rights Are Being Violated


Renting a place to live should be a stress-free experience, but unfortunately, disputes and violations of rights can arise between tenants and landlords. When facing such situations, hiring a lawyer can be a crucial step toward safeguarding your rights and ensuring fair treatment. Here’s why a renter should consider legal representation if their rights are being violated:

Understanding Legal Rights: Tenants have specific rights outlined by law, including the right to a habitable living space, privacy, security deposits, and protection from unlawful eviction. A lawyer well-versed in landlord-tenant laws can explain these rights, ensuring you understand what you’re entitled to and what actions are considered violations.

Navigating Complex Laws: Landlord-tenant laws can be intricate. A lawyer who specializes in these laws understands the nuances, ensuring that your case is evaluated accurately within the context of the relevant legal framework. They can guide you through the legal process, helping you comprehend your options and the potential outcomes.

Legal Protection and Advocacy: Engaging a lawyer provides you with a strong advocate who can represent your interests. They can correspond with the landlord or their legal representation on your behalf, drafting and reviewing documents, and negotiating settlements. Should the matter escalate, having a lawyer by your side strengthens your position in court proceedings.

Seeking Remedies and Compensation: If your rights have been violated, you may be entitled to remedies or compensation. A lawyer can assess your situation to determine the appropriate legal remedies, whether it involves seeking repairs, terminating a lease, or pursuing financial compensation for damages suffered.

Peace of Mind: Dealing with a landlord-tenant dispute can be emotionally draining and stressful. Having a lawyer handle the legal aspects alleviates some of this burden, allowing you to focus on your daily life while knowing that a professional is handling the complexities of your case.

Hiring a lawyer when your rights as a renter are being violated offers expertise, protection, and a higher chance of reaching a favorable resolution. It empowers you to stand up for your rights and ensures that your voice is heard in legal matters related to your tenancy.